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Take It Back success in Dundee and Glasgow

Recycling single-use cups on the go can be tricky. Which bin do you use? What type of cup do you have? 

And, with 59% of people citing some confusion or lack of understanding as reasons not to recycle single-use cups on the go, our Take It Back initiative aimed to address this head on in two Scottish cities.

Last July we teamed up with the National Cup Recycling Scheme and Starbucks to encourage people who use single-use takeaway cups to return them to one of 121 participating stores across Glasgow and Dundee ensuring that they were properly recycled and diverted from landfill.

Over nine months retailers Caffe Nero, Costa, Greggs, McDonalds, Pret a Manger, and Starbucks, joined us and Glasgow and Dundee City Councils to help customers understand how easy it could be to recycle their single-use takeaway cups.

Alongside window stickers in stores, bin stickers re-directing people to participating stores, and a suite of digital and online messages and advertising at Glasgow Queen Street Station and on the Subway we increased awareness of the campaign and messages to 26%.

Additionally, our pre and post bin audits recorded a 12% reduction of single-use cups from participating retailers and a 6% reduction in the number of single-use cups as a percentage total of drink items in the bins and headed for landfill as a result of the Take It Back initiative.

Our perception surveys also highlighted that 27% had returned a single-use cup to a participating store for recycling – 10% of these to a different store to where it the drink was purchased.

Paul Wallace, our Campaigns and Social Innovation Manager, said, “We want people to enjoy hot drinks on the go.  Take it Back helps support people to do the right thing, returning their single-use takeaway cups to stores for recycling therefore reducing the number of single-use cups discarded inappropriately in Scotland.

“With mandatory take back for single-use cups now to be addressed separately at a later date following forthcoming Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging regulations, it is even more important that we ensure it is easy for people to do the right thing and switch to reusable options or ensure single-use cups are returned for recycling, rather than put in general waste bins.”

“Working with retailers on initiatives like Take It Back, and the Cup Box scheme, we are running through the Highland Community Waste Partnership, is key to promoting existing cup recycling infrastructure to customers, and we look forward to further collaborations.”  

“We are pleased that single-use cups can still be taken back to participating stores in both cities.”

Hannah Osman, National Cup Recycling Manager at Valpak, said: "The success of the #TakeItBack project has been a significant achievement, making recycling both visible and convenient for staff and customers alike.

"The National Cup Recycling Scheme is delighted to have been involved in this initiative. The key learnings from this project will be crucial as we look to expand #TakeItBack into a nationwide campaign, ensuring that all stores can easily adopt this natural progression in sustainable practices."

For more information and key learning check out our #TakeItBack case study and web page.

13 June 2024

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