The UK’s largest collaborative recycling initiative to date, Leeds By Example, has been a great success across the city. After a six-month trial the campaign has seen the number of people recycling coffee cups, cans and plastic almost double from 17% to 32%.
Set up by Hubbub and Ecosurety in October 2018, #LeedsByExample was funded by 25 brands, manufacturers and retailers who united with Leeds City Council and 28 local partners to install 124 recycling points across one square mile in the City Centre.
Lack of infrastructure and unclear messaging is often a barrier towards recycling, yet the campaign’s clear message and collaborative approach has demonstrated that behaviour change can be achieved with impressive results in just a few months. The recycling bins collected a total of 55,000 bottles, 65,000 cans and 600,000 cups within the sixth month trial period.
The campaign focussed on public engagement through creative design, interaction and financial initiatives, which included vouchers, as well as some imaginative bins that were brightly coloured, blowing bubbles and even burping. This clearly paid off, as polls found that 82% of the public in Leeds City centre had seen the initiative and responded well to the fun approach. Interestingly, a survey conducted by Ecosurety following the trial found public motivation for using one of the seven recycle reward machines was mainly by a belief in the positivity of recycling rather than the financial rewards.
The success of the trial has inspired cities in other parts of the UK to launch recycling campaigns, as in September a similar campaign will be launched in Edinburgh and Swansea. Due to its success, Leeds by Example has been extended for a further six months.
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