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UK’s biggest collaborative approach to recycling on-the-go arrives in Swansea

ye-catching bins and an art installation aim to educate residents and visitors on how to recycle while out and about.

Brightly coloured bins and a huge art installation have appeared in Swansea city centre this week as a new on-the-go recycling initiative is being launched by environmental charity Hubbub, in partnership with Swansea City Council.

Swansea #InTheLoop, is a five-month pilot scheme with the aim of increasing levels of recycling of plastic packaging, cans, glass bottles and coffee cups across the city. 

The campaign is being supported by local partners, who collaboratively have made the initiative possible.

Wales ranks second in the world for recycling at home, with figures showing that 63% of general waste collected by local authorities is reusable, recyclable or compostable.* While the people of Wales are well versed in home recycling, on-the-go recycling is still an area that needs to be improved, and less than half of local authorities across the UK provide on-the-go recycling facilities.

Led by Hubbub and Swansea City Council, Swansea #InTheLoop will see new look bins across the city centre and new recycling points in local offices, shopping centres, universities, hospitals and transport hubs. An art installation of a giant wave made of recycled plastics has been created by South Wales eco-artist Wren Miller, to captivate members of the public and further raise awareness of the issue. The Wave can be seen in the following locations around Swansea: 

  • 10th Sept – 19th Sept: City Centre (Castle Square)   
  • 19th Sept – 29th Sept: Swansea University (Singleton Campus)   
  • 30th Sept – 6th Oct: Quadrant Shopping Centre  

Other locations are invited to get in touch if they’re interested in hosting The Wave after 6th October. 

The campaign is being supported by local partners, who collaboratively have made the initiative possible. As well as Swansea City Council, these include the Environment Centre, Swansea University and Keep Wales Tidy – pioneers of the Love Wales recycling initiative.  

The initiative – which is the UK’s biggest collaborative approach to boost recycling on-the-go – is being backed by Starbucks, Ecosurety, Asda, Bunzl, Caffè Nero, Coca-Cola GB, Costa Coffee, Danone – owners of the Evian and Volvic brands, Highland Spring Group, Innocent Drinks, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret a Manger and Shell. 

A central focus of the campaign will be to improve public access and awareness of coffee cup recycling. Cups can be recycled and a number of coffee shops in Swansea offer in-store recycling, regardless of the brand of cup people bring in. To help increase cup recycling rates, Swansea City Council will introduce new bright orange bins in the city centre to collect coffee cups.  

Gavin Ellis, Co-founder and Director of Hubbub said: “We’re really excited to see our second on-the-go recycling initiative introduced in Swansea. The impact our pilot campaign had on the city of Leeds far surpassed our expectations and with Wales already having an impressive track record on recycling, we are looking forward to seeing if the people of Swansea can take things a step further. Through our eye-catching bins, to the businesses taking part in raising awareness among their employees and customers, we will give residents and visitors to Swansea a better opportunity to recycle while out and about.”  

Cllr Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment & Infrastructure Management at Swansea Council  said: “Recycling does not involve only recycling household waste in your own home. Clearly people consume items on the move while they are out and about. We already work with many local businesses in Swansea to provide commercial waste recycling services so businesses can recycle more in the workplace. Anything more that can be done to capture more waste for recycling and divert it away from landfill should be welcomed and taken advantage of.”  

Philip McDonnell, Manager of the Environment Centre, Swansea said: “We see through our public engagement activities and environmental projects how keen people in Swansea are to do the right thing, so it’s great that Swansea #InTheLoop gives everyone the opportunity to recycle more when they’re out and about. We hope that residents and visitors alike will get involved, as the combined small actions of each individual can add up to create a big change.” 

Hubbub launched its inaugural on-the-go recycling scheme #LeedsByExample in 2018, which saw on-the-go recycling rates in Leeds increase from 17% to 32% in just six months. The campaign has sparked national interest from cities across the UK, with Swansea being the second city to join the movement, soon to be followed by Edinburgh later this year.  

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