Brits call for more ‘on the go’ can recycling facilities

Survey finds on-street facilities the most in-demand

As our habit for consuming ‘on-the-go’ food and drink continues to rise, research conducted by Every Can Counts has highlighted that 60% of consumers are calling for more can recycling facilities on the street, while 56% would like to see more on beach fronts, and 51% are calling for more facilities at music and sporting events.

The Every Can Counts survey of over 10,000 people was conducted across 30 festival and sporting events in 2019. As well as investigating where more can recycling facilities are needed, the survey also examined perceptions around the recyclability of different drink containers.  58% of respondents deemed drink cans to be one of the most recyclable containers, followed by plastic bottles (44%), glass bottles (26%) and then cartons (12%).

When presented with the recycling facts, 56% of those surveyed were astonished to learn that drink cans are infinitely recyclable, while the fact that a recycled drink can could be back on a shop shelf in just 60 days impressed 28% of respondents the most.

Chris Latham-Warde, Every Can Counts Programme Manager, commented: “As we become increasingly aware of the impact our lifestyles have on the environment, it is important that we as an organisation gain an insight into recycling attitudes and understand any barriers that consumers may face. This research enables us to focus our activities so we can better support consumer desires to recycle more, ensuring we continue to progress towards our vision of a 100% recycling rate for drink cans.”

The current recycling rate for drink cans in the UK stands at 75% but there is still plenty of room to drive up the recycling rate of this valuable material. The Every Can Counts programme works with people, organisations and events to promote drink can recycling and to inspire people to think differently about the value of their empty can.

Friends of Wombwell Park win Green Can Award

The hard efforts of a Barnsley based community group has resulted in worthy recognition; the ‘Friends of Wombwell Park’ have been awarded a Green Can Award for the steps they have taken to introduce recycling facilities to Wombwell Park. 

Previously there were no recycling bins anywhere in Wombwell Park and park users had to dispose of all materials in general waste litter bins.  The Friends of Wombwell Park saw an opportunity to increase recycling rates and set about forging a partnership with the recycling programme, Every Can Counts.  There are now drink can collection points set up throughout the park, making it easier for the local community to recycle their empty cans when they are out and about.  The group has raised awareness about these new recycling points by displaying Every Can Counts posters and signs around the park, as well as actively promoting the new facilities on social media.

In addition to the environmental benefits of recycling drink cans, the group is harnessing the value of aluminium to raise funds for further improvements to the park.  The money raised by recycling the cans collected is put towards various projects to benefit park users, including improvements to the popular skatepark area.

Carmel Seston, Recycling Champion for the Friends of Wombwell Park, said: “We had a wonderful afternoon at the presentation of the Green Can Award.  It was well attended by members of the local community and provided an opportunity for sharing ideas on the expansion of this project to include a wider area and a greater range of recycled materials.  The Every Can Counts programme provides a focus for community groups to work together to promote recycling.  By working together, we have helped to inspire positive behaviour change in the local area by promoting recycling behaviours, and it’s fantastic to have this recognised with a Green Can Award.”

Chris Latham-Warde, Every Can Counts Programme Manager, said: “It’s inspiring to see the work the Friends of Wombwell Park have done to engage the local community with recycling behaviours.  By establishing can collection points in the park and raising awareness of the many benefits of recycling drink cans, the group is tackling some of the most common barriers to recycling and inspiring more people to do the right thing with their empty cans.”

Since setting up can recycling points in the park, the group collects around 250 drink cans every week and continues to use this recycling activity to raise funds for further improvements to the park.

Reflecting on a Sustainable Summer

The growing demand for festivals to go plastics-free this summer led to a significant rise in the interest in the drink can recycling programme, Every Can Counts. Festivals are big business, and the UK has gained a reputation for hosting a diverse calendar of events large and small.  However, organisers are under significant pressure to ensure their events are as sustainable as possible.

Every Can Counts is the leading programme to promote drink can recycling; originally conceived in 2009, our aim remains simple and straightforward – to inspire everyone to make a difference by recycling their drink cans when they are away from home.

The programme has enjoyed its busiest and most productive Summer, a fitting way to celebrate its 10th anniversary.  Present at over 30 festivals and sports events, the team has directly engaged with close to 10,000 people about the infinite recyclability of the humble drink can.  Using a range of creative experiences enables the team to drive up recycling rates at an event, but importantly to drive positive behaviour change long after the glitter and mud are washed away.

A collective audience of over 1 million people had the opportunity to interact with the Every Can Counts recycling ambassadors and their unique can recycling back packs, to view the Every Can Counts video on big screens, and new in 2019, the innovative and engaging can cages and voting bins. At five festivals, people were encouraged to bring drink cans to the Every Can Counts pitch in return for money-can’t-buy tee-shirts – this alone generated nearly 50,000 more cans collected for recycling by the onsite waste contractor.

Andy Ellis, Director of Lost Village Festival said “Every Can Counts helped us bring a sharp focus on recycling and educate our customers more than ever. It’s clear that the solution to waste is anthropic; leading by example, engaging and, quite simply, talking to people and spreading the word. Every Can Count’s strong presence in our campsite, combined with their personable and passionate team, harnessed undeniably positive results at Lost Village 2019.

The Every Can Counts programme is unique in that it brings together a broad spectrum of partners; organisers of iconic festivals, sports events, well-known drink brands, independent event organisers, packaging manufacturers, community groups, industry bodies and waste and recycling contractors.

Chris Latham-Warde, Every Can Counts programme manager said “This Summer’s programme is our biggest year so far!   We’re excited to work with long-term partners such as Festival Republic, and to have developed new partnerships with acclaimed independent festivals 2000trees in Cheltenham and Lost Village in Lincolnshire.  We are also supporting Tough Mudder at ten of their nationwide obstacle race events, as well as working with grassroots community events.

“We are passionate about what we do and are determined to change the game.   The UK aluminium drink can recycling rate stands at 75% and we will do everything in our power to improve this figure year on year.”

Freshney Place Shopping Centre extends partnership with Every Can Counts

Freshney Place shopping centre is delighted to be extending its partnership with Every Can Counts (ECC) following the popularity of the bins which were installed in 2018 as part of Freshney Place’s Green Grimsby campaign. Green Grimsby, of which ECC was an official partner, aimed to highlight the town’s reputation as the renewable energy capital of the UK and drive greater awareness of environmental concerns, including sustainability and a greener approach to a multi tenanted and community used building.

Currently there is a can crushing station and ECC bins located in the shopping centre, along with two new recycling stations, complementing the centre’s objective to improve recycling facilities for customers. There are also ECC bins in the majority of shops within the centre. It is estimated by shopping centre management that more than 500 cans are being crushed and recycled every month.

Neil Grice, Operations Manager said: “The can-crushing stations have been very popular with customers and have really helped us to achieve our environmental targets. Last year Freshney Place was awarded two major environmental accreditations including a Green Apple Environment Award and a Green Award from Investors in the Environment – their highest level of accreditation.

“Resource usage and environmental practices continue to be important operational objectives and this includes the use of ECC’s bins which encourage customers to recycle drinks cans efficiently.”

Beach Guardian wins Green Can Award for Recycling

Beach Guardian based in Padstow, Cornwall have received a national recycling award for their outstanding work in recycling drink cans and raising awareness of the impact to the environment by people not recycling.

The Every Can Counts Green Can Award has been awarded to Beach Guardian co-founders – father and daughter duo Rob Stevenson and Emily Stevenson.

Beach Guardian was established in 2017 and organises voluntary beach cleans, on average one every week with around 25 people volunteering.  Litter and marine plastics are collected, taken back to their Lab in Padstow where it is sorted and cleaned, to take into schools in Cornwall and run art and educational workshops.

They also engage with businesses and organisations to encourage their staff to volunteer and to reduce their reliance on unnecessary single use plastics. This has meant getting retailers, shops and takeaways to switch from drinks in plastic bottles to drinks in cans, including brands such as Life Water and Canowater. Beach Guardian have used social media to regularly post about their activities. This has encouraged people within Cornwall to save and recycle their cans which has meant a huge increase in awareness amongst the various coastal communities.

Recycling bins have been distributed throughout Cornwall to the Council, cafes and shops, including outdoor ones at the Falmouth Maritime Museum, Old Macdonald’s Farm and Rick Stein’s restaurants in Padstow and Newquay. Beach Guardian have teamed up with Henry Orchard and Sons to recycle all the drink cans collected.

Henry Orchard says “Here in the UK we recycle twice as much as we did 15 years ago, but there’s still a long way to go. We’re proud to do our bit with our involvement with Every Can Counts and Beach Guardian, as well as our own safe and efficient metal and waste electricals processing. We have been taking in aluminium cans and giving a donation to the Beach Guardian project for every bag we receive as part of this initiative.”

Presenting the award Kate Cole Programme Manager for Every Can Counts says “It is an honour to present a Green Can Award to Beach Guardian. This is a fantastic example of how collecting and recycling drinks cans and other metal packaging not only generates much needed funds it also makes a significant contribution to the environment.”

Rob Stevenson Co-Founder and Director of Beach Guardian says “We would like to see every business switch from selling drinks in Plastic Bottles to Aluminium Cans. Even with the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme, plastic bottles can only be recycled up to 18 times whereas Aluminium can be recycled and used again and again to make new packaging and Aluminium is endlessly recyclable cutting down on waste and saving energy too.”

Every Can Counts is a free to use recycling initiative that aims to increase the number of drinks cans recycled, whether at work or while out and about.

The programme aims to increase the number of drinks cans recycled, whether at work or whilst out and about, by providing practical advice and support, including free communication materials and help with finding a recycling collection partner.