Leeds to trial the UK’s first on-the-go recycling initiative

October 12, 2018

Leeds has been chosen as the pilot city for a unique recycling project, which will trial innovative ways to recycle waste.

By Jessica Kay

Bubble blowing bins, recycle reward systems, art installations and ‘Re-cycle’ recycling collection bikes have started to appear in Leeds city centre as part of the campaign.

#LeedsByExample is the UK’s biggest push to trial ways to improve recycling rates on the go.

People are spreading information about the campaign via the hashtag #LeedsByExample on Twitter:

Environmental change charity Hubbub and recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety have brought together partnerships with businesses and local firms to support the campaign.

#LeedByExample Recycling initiative in Leeds is backed by various industry giants:

  • Asda
  • Starbucks
  • Crown Packaging
  • Marks and Spencer
  • McDonald’s
  • Shell
McDonald's is one of the many partners involved with Leeds By Example

McDonald’s is one of the many partners involved with Leeds By Example

Partners involved with the campaign are supporting Hubbub on Briggate: 

Rob Green from Zero Waste Leeds said:  “It’s been really popular so far, we’ve been here since Tuesday, there has been loads of different interesting conversations.

“People are recognising that we need to do something about this.”


Recycling in the UK: 

Within a year in the UK, we get through:

  • 13 billion plastic bottles
  • 9 billion drink cans
  • 2.5 billion coffee cups

Yet research from Recoup found that only 42% of local authorities provide on the go recycling facilities.

In a 2018 survey conducted in Leeds, 52% of respondents disposed of recyclable packaging whilst out and about and the majority of this waste was disposed into general waste bins.

Why Leeds?

Jessica Wiles Creative Partner for Hubbub explains why they selected Leeds as its trial:

“As a large city with no previous on the go recycling facilities, running the campaign in Leeds  means we can test what works and replicate this in other towns and cities in the UK. Leeds have 200,00 students and we know that 18-25 year-olds are the most likely to consume food on the go, but less likely than older generations to recycle.”

Where in Leeds?

The bins and other projects have been situated around densely populated areas of Leeds city centre. They are situated in Universities, hospitals, large coffee shop chains and markets – such as Kirkgate .

Recycling points are concentrated within Leeds City Centre.

Recycling points are concentrated within Leeds City Centre.

Hubbub have partnered with Leeds City council for #LeedsByExample.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council executive board member for environment, said

“With this pilot, innovative technology and interventions will be tested across our city and we are really pleased to see many businesses signed up already to this campaign, from universities to restaurants, shops and offices. I’m encouraging as many local businesses and organisations as possible to get behind this project so that together we can make a real impact on recycling rates in Leeds city centre.”


Gavin Ellis, director and co-founder of charity Hubbub, said:

“We’re interested to discover which of these will make the biggest difference and will share what we learn openly so that the most successful elements can be rolled out in Leeds and nationally.”

The project is running between October and April 2019. If successful, the project could be taken nationwide.



One thought on “Leeds to trial the UK’s first on-the-go recycling initiative

  1. Amy Bee

    How come you didn’t say more about the recycling reward scheme? How will that work? If it is anything like Germany’s recycling reward scheme we will have much cleaner streets because the homeless people in the city will go round all day collecting plastic bottles, cans & glass to exchange for either supermarket vouchers for food or cash. Germany have got the right idea.


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