Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop

The UK’s biggest collaborative approach to recycling on-the-go arrives in Edinburgh, bringing on-street recycling to the city for the first time.


Thanks to the success of #LeedsByExample which launched in October 2018, other cities joined the movement to boost on-the-go recycling. Under the new name #InTheLoop, Edinburgh was the third location to take on the mantle after Leeds and Swansea. 'Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop' was initially a five-month trial which allowed people passing through the city centre to recycle plastic packaging, cans and coffee cups on the street, for the first time. Due to the success of the trial, the campaign has now become a lasting fixture and is spreading even further across the city.

So, what's the big problem with on-the-go recycling?

Every year in the UK we get through 13 billion plastic bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and a staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups. When you factor in that over half of people dispose of their waste on-the-go, it all adds up to one big problem. A significant proportion of cities don't have on-the-go recycling facilities and even those that do often suffer from high contamination rates that make actually recycling the collected material problematic.

#LeedsByExample made a big splash in the city of Leeds, proving that with improved communications and better infrastructure it was possible to double the number of people recycling whilst reducing contamination. The successful initiative has been applied to other cities in the UK, first with Swansea and then followed by Edinburgh in October 2019.


Impactful results

The full 25 page impact report for Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop was published in October 2020. Read the report for an insight into all aspects of the campaign, including the key challenges tackled, the wide-ranging collaborations, the implemented behaviour change model, key learns and successes, recommendations for other locations and the planned next steps.
Read the full impact report


Linking industry giants

Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop has brought together a variety of global and local stakeholders to collaborate, including the following:
Alupro logo ASDA logo       Bunzl      Caffe Nero logo      Coca-cola GB logo      Costa logo      Danone logo      Ecosurety       Highland Spring logo      Hubbub      Innocent logo      LRS logo      M&S logo      mcdonalds logo      Nestle      Pret a Manger logo      Starbucks logo

On-the-go infrastructure

Like Swansea before it, Edinburgh built upon the successes of #LeedsByExample with a whole raft of improved on-the-go recycling solutions. Over 90 bins were either reskinned or installed across the city, making it crystal clear where to recycle plastic, cans, glass and coffee cups whilst out and about.

Edinburgh #InTheLoop bin

New look bins

Over 35 existing bins have been re-skinned to help solve the problem of contamination, making it as easy as possible to assess where waste should be deposited.

A whole multitude of other new bins also landed across the city, on the street and in shopping centres, meaning there really is no excuse for not recycling correctly!

The burping bin monster

After proving a big hit in Leeds and Swansea, Edinburgh was also home to the incredible bubble blowing, burping recycling bin monster!

Always managing to raise a smile, it is a fantastic way to get people to stop, think about their waste and promote the campaign through word-of-mouth and social media posts.

Swansea bubble bins

Edinburgh in the loop

Coffee cup recycling

New dedicated coffee cup recycling bins located both inside and out across the city in eye-catching orange make recycling points hard to miss.

The new bins compliment an initiative where consumers can take their used coffee cups back to any participating cafe or food outlet, no matter where they originally bought their drink from.

“The collaboration between all the stakeholders involved serves to demonstrate what can be achieved with this proactive approach and the need to work together to solve the problems we face today.” Jon Brookes Head of partnerships, Ecosurety

Consumer awareness

Like the campaigns that came before it, Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop utilised an essential consumer awareness campaign to ensure the new improved infrastructure does not go unnoticed. From a public art installation through to colour coded messaging and social media promotion - every effort was made to get the citizens of Edinburgh behind the campaign.

Amplifying the message

Social media was a key part of the plan to reach consumers and a wide variety of eye catching digital assets were created to accompany promotional posts shared by the partners and supporters of the campaign, using the #InTheLoop tag of course!

Captivate members of the public

Two Scotland-based artists Sam Cornwell and Cody Lukas created an innovative geometric installation, which displays plastic bottles, drinks cans and coffee cups to demonstrate the value of these materials.

It used solar panels to glow up at night to captivate members of the public and further raise awareness of the issue.

Keeping Edinburgh in the loop

Eye catching posters, window stickers, table talkers and banners made the campaign hard to miss across the city, featuring a range of messaging and the all important hashtag.

Edinburgh #InTheLoop

“As a Council we are committed to increasing recycling rates amongst residents and visitors, and as we’ve seen from previous work with Hubbub, their innovative approach to behaviour change has made a real impact on the public.” Cllr Lesley Macinnes Transport and Environment Convenor for The City of Edinburgh Council

Created with Hubbub

This project was made possible by our partnership with Hubbub, a charity that creates environmental campaigns with a difference.
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Hubbub is an environmental charity that uses the latest thinking backed by academic research to explore new ways to run behaviour change campaigns. The charity explores innovative and fun ways to interest mainstream consumers in important sustainability issues, through different ‘hubs’ of activity - Food, Fashion, Homes, and Neighbourhoods.

Hubbub’s previous campaigns have included #SquareMileChallenge, the UK’s first large scale solution to coffee cup recycling, #GiftABundle to get pre-loved baby clothes back into circulation and #PumpkinRescue to encourage more people to eat the carvings from their Halloween Pumpkins.

Their exclusive collaboration with Ecosurety will see two consumer-facing campaigns a year, funded by producer responsibility compliance evidence money, created and executed by Hubbub. The partnership between Ecosurety and Hubbub will also see regular canvassing of opinion from obligated producers and recyclers about which issues or campaigns should be prioritised across producer responsibility compliance.

Want to get involved?

If you are a major brand concerned about on-the-go recycling, or a local business in Edinburgh interested in getting involved, it is not too late - please click the button below to find out how you can play a part too. The strength of this project is collaboration, and together we can not only make a tangible difference in Edinburgh, but provide a blueprint for rolling out successful on-the-go recycling infrastructure and partnerships in other cities.
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“For the first time, the people of Edinburgh will be able to recycle whilst on the move. The impact our pilot campaign had on the city of Leeds far surpassed our expectations and with the support of the local community, we hope Edinburgh will do the same.” Alex Robinson Managing director, Hubbub