Decade-long Partnership Results in Recycling Success in Buxton

A 10-year partnership between Nestlé Waters UK, plastics recycling charity RECOUP, High Peak Borough Council and Alliance Environmental Services (AES) has seen recycling success in Buxton.

The long-term investment and collaboration have delivered many initiatives including school education, roadshows, litter picking and eye-catching bins on the streets of the town.

The work has been supported by resources developed and delivered to schools through the R-Generation initiative, educating young people about plastics and recycling. Supporting the National Curriculum, R-Generation has focused on wider sustainability issues of littering and the environment, why recycling is important, as well as helping students learn about the journey of plastics when they are recycled – where they go, what happens to them and what they can be turned into.

In 2019 the original high street recycling bins were given a much-needed face-lift to make it easy to distinguish between ‘Recycling’ and ‘General Waste.’ The bright blue recycling bins now provide a splash of colour on Buxton High Street. The operational commitment by High Peak Borough Council and recently AES to empty and separately sort the recycling has been central to supporting the vision of Nestlé Waters and RECOUP.

Last year, RECOUP carried out an audit of the recycling collected over one weekend to assess the effectiveness of the scheme and found that 90% of material was recyclable with a split of 79% either plastic bottles or cans, 11% ‘other’ recyclables and only 10% non-recyclable material was put into the bin. When carrying out the assessment RECOUP commented, “some of the recycling bags were ‘so clean’, with very little or almost no contamination at all.”

The outcome of the on-street bins revamp supports conclusions also made by Hubbub in their Leeds By Example work that ‘simply changing the messaging and colour of the existing bin has a significant impact on the amount of recycling collected.’[1]

A spokesperson from High Peak Borough Council stated:

We are pleased to hear how successful the bins have proven to be. We are constantly developing our services to reduce the carbon footprint of our activities. The success of the repainted bins demonstrates that residents, and visitors alike, are more determined to recycle when given the opportunity.”

Hayley Lloyd House, Head of Sustainability for Nestlé Waters UK, said:

Working collaboratively with the community, RECOUP, High Peak Borough Council and AES is really important to us and the best way to tackle challenges we face. Nationally recycling rates are not going up and we are determined to help improve this. When plastics are recycled, they can go on to be used again, and so we want people to think first before throwing something away – can it be recycled? Only by recycling more of what we use can we stimulate and accelerate the circular economy.  To create a world where our used items can go on to become new things – in the case of our water bottles, they can become new bottles. Making recycling easy whilst people are out and about, or On-the-Go is a key part of the solution.”

Anne Hitch, Communications & Engagement Manager for RECOUP, said of the project:

The success of the scheme has been achieved through investment and a continuous programme of engagement, activity and education. Once again, the community of, and visitors to, Buxton have come together to recycle and have demonstrated how it is possible to achieve high recycling rates from On-the-Go recycling provision.”

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NB: 1 Hubbub, Leeds by Example Impact Report 2019
2 WRAP ‘Drinks Recycling On-the-Go’ document published February 2019 with input from Valpak and RECOUP demonstrated on average expected contamination rates could be around 51% but varied hugely from 19 – 87%.   The more recent Leeds By Example work by Hubbub demonstrated an average contamination by weight of 50%

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