Plastic has in recent years become one of the top materials households know they should be recycling — but there’s often confusion about what’s recyclable and which material goes into which bin.
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has taken it upon itself to show consumers the way through a variety of recent initiatives and “Happiness Arcade”s around the world. But now with the UK government setting challenging targets to boost the amount of plastic that gets recycled well above the current rate of 58 percent, there’s increased urgency around dispelling the confusion amongst Brits. So last week, CCE teamed up with Tesco (the UK’s largest supermarket retailer, and the world’s second-largest behind Walmart) on the Recycling Is the Answer campaign, aimed at educating and engaging their customers in aid of the plastic recycling effort — much like CCE’s Don’t Waste. Create collaboration with Sainsbury’s in 2013.
Tesco customers are encouraged to visit the Recycling Is the Answer website and invited to “pledge, play and recycle.” Activities include an educational game in which players sort a variety of packaging materials into the correct recycling bins, in a virtual representation of a home.
While bringing an element of fun to the process, the aim is to educate consumers on which materials can and can’t be recycled (and where) — an issue that can often discourage consumers from recycling for fear of mixing the wrong materials. The campaign also hopes to spread the word between customers; all members who take the pledge receive 25 Tesco Clubcard points or a 50p coupon, and a further 25 points for sharing their pledge on Facebook or Twitter.
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“The campaign is the result of our shared dedication with Tesco to reduce our carbon footprint and help customers do the same in their homes,” said Nick Brown, Associate Director of Recycling at CCE. “Past initiatives have demonstrated the power of pledging combined with awareness-raising, and we hope Recycling Is the Answer will have a similar impact. We are committed to helping the public make positive changes and hope the fun and practical tips provided in this campaign will address some of the barriers to at-home recycling.”
The collaboration between CCE and Tesco is hoping to build on a similar campaign, last year’s Together We’re Making Recycling Count. Over 37,000 customers took the pledge to increase their recycling efforts at home, and impressively, two-thirds of consumers who said they never recycled said they ‘always’ or ‘mostly’ do now, as a result of last year’s campaign.
Coke is also one of the partners involved in Pledge 4 Plastics**, a government-backed initiative trying to promote plastic recycling across the UK. Led by Recoup, Coke join a host of other major companies and authorities including Nestlé UK, Nestlé Waters , Marks & Spencer, Unilever, RPC, Veolia, Closed Loop Recycling, Valpak, Kent Resource Partnership, Surrey County Council, PlasticsEurope, WRAP and Defra.
"Nestlé are very proud to be supporting the Pledge 4 Plastics initiative. Working together on the campaign, we have developed a clear communication plan that will help to increase consumers’ understanding of plastic recycling and hopefully have a positive effect on the amount of plastic packaging recycled in the UK,” said Alison Ingle, Nestlé UK & Ireland Group Packaging Manager.
The Pledge 4 Plastics campaign comes in response to ambitious new government-backed recycling targets for the packaging industry in the UK, which require rates to double over the five-year period from 2013-2017. Recycling is generally well-supported across the UK — all 407 local authorities offer a recycling collection service, with almost all including household collections (making the task easier for consumers). Roughly 7 billion plastic bottles were recycled in the UK in 2012, but with 5 billion still getting dumped to landfill, there’s still room for consumers to do more.