Cornwall to trial ‘beverage bins’ in bid to lift recycling rates

15/01/2018 - 07:00
In a bid to increase recycling rates in Cornwall, an environmental solutions firm and a Cornish manufacturer have partnered on a new project which will see the installation of 200 'beverage bins' around the county in which all single-used drink containers can be thrown.

The bins will accept paper and plastic cups, cans, cartons, plastic bottles, lids and straws, which its co-creator Closed Loop says will “eliminate consumer confusion”.

The move comes following parlimentary proposals for a 5p bottle tax and 25p ‘latte levy' on coffee cups, along with last week's announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May on a 25-year environment plan.

The bins will be located in areas high in plastic packaging circulation from the food to go trade, such as high streets, beaches, transport hubs, venues and leisure attractions.

They are to be trialled in Cornwall later this year with a view to replicating the scheme across the UK, depending on its success.

Over a three month period, from June to August 2018, the bins will be monitored to understand how intuitive they are to use, how the composition of used beverage packaging changes in different environments, whether contamination can be reduced, and what the final design of the bins should look like.

A consumer engagement campaign will be supported by a mobile gamification app that will reward consumers for depositing their used drink receptacles.

The material from the bins will be sorted locally, to analyse the material collected, before onward forwarding for processing at existing sites in the UK.

"In consultation with food and drinks brands and the packaging industry over the last six months, there is now a broad acceptance that more needs to be done, with dialogue quickly progressing to practical solutions that address the issues of packaging waste", says Peter Goodwin, director of Closed Loop.

"The Beverage Bin Project is the direct outcome from these discussions for which we now hope to raise the required funding to make happen - particularly at a time when the consumer is more willing than ever to participate.”

Matthew Thomson, chief executive of Fifteen Cornwall and the Cornwall Food Foundation, believes that this is a much needed initiative for the far south west.

"Nowhere in the British Isles feels the effect of ocean plastics more than we do here in Cornwall", said Thomson.

"Added to that, all of Cornwall's waste is currently shipped to other parts of the UK so we desperately need a radical new solution that not only attracts the support of consumers but leaves a lasting recycling legacy for the county.

“I believe that this solution has all the ingredients for success and so I would urge the on-the-go drinks industry, Cornish business and the public to get behind this important initiative. If this trial works in Cornwall, it can work anywhere."

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