The on-the-go industry is set to continue booming but many local authorities have no on-street recycling facilities to capture waste. Studies show the public want to recycle but are often unable. A new, cost-effective approach is required.
Following Hubbub’s success of their first recycling on-the-go campaign,#LeedsbyExample, they rolled out similar projects in Swansea and Edinbrugh. Having trialed and tested different approaches in these cities, they were ready to put the most effective methods into practice in a new one – step forward, Dublin!
In collaboration with VOICE, the project in Dublin will make use of different techniques to encourage recycling-on-the-go including colourful new recycling facilities, engaging communications and an eye-catching art installation. We’re also going to make things really simple by recycling cans and plastic bottles only.
What does success look like? More people recycling plastic bottles and cans on-the-go and a greater public understanding on how to recycle and why it is worthwhile leading to a more circular culture in Dublin.
Although this project began over a year ago, thanks to Covid, it has yet to be completed. When a brief window of opportunity presented itself at the beginning of October, we pounced to officially launch the campaign, with the help of Lord Mayor Hazel Chu. Dublin City Council installed a number of the new on-the-go recycling bins on Henry Street, Grafton Street and South King Street for the purpose of the launch but, unfortunately, lockdown overtook matters once again.
Come December and the qualified easing of lockdown measures, RPS were in a position to carry out an audit of the bins before lockdown kicked in yet again. The results, although not exactly typical in terms of the footfall one would expect from a regular December, were promising. The good news was that roughly 86% of the materials recovered from the recycling bins were exactly what we were looking for, i.e. bottles and cans. The downside to this was that, by weight, most of the material was not what we were looking for, i.e. coffee ups and smoothies still containing lots of liquid. In summary, loads of good, recyclable bottles and cans but also lots of contamination in terms of liquids.
Ordinarily, this is the kind of information you want as it can help to shape response and strategy but alas, with the extended lockdown, we have been unable to proceed as we would like. However, the results as outlined above lend themselves to the thinking that Dublin wants better and more sustainable waste infrastructure on the streets, options that are visible, easy to avail of and open to all. Here’s to a safe and secure Summer where, fingers crossed, we can put that theory to the test.