Office recycling

Top tips for office recycling

By setting up a can recycling scheme you not only help reduce the amount of waste heading to landfill, but also contribute to your office’s sustainability credentials. To help get you started we’ve pulled together some handy hints on how best to set up your own can recycling campaign:

  • Identify a recycling champion/s in the office to inform and advise colleagues about the recycling process
  • Update office cleaners about your recycling processes so they know where to leave your recycling collections
  • Regularly report on how much has been recycled, to motivate staff. This could be done by using graphs in reception/rest rooms.  The ECC Can-culator can help demonstrate the value of every can collected, The Can-culator can be found here
  • Incentivise to encourage more recycling. Introduce ‘Recycling Employee of the month’ or make the scheme a competition by asking people to write their name/extension number or email on a can before they put it in the recycling box – one lucky can a week can win a prize, e.g. a shopping voucher
  • Encourage recycling across the office, by promoting recycling schemes in rest rooms, canteens and staff rooms
  • Make recycling part of the company ‘culture’ and promote as part of the company/ies CSR initiative. If you’re going for ISO14001 or any environmental/sustainability accreditation Every Can Counts can form part of your measurable commitment to recycling
  • Work with suppliers to provide recycled goods or support recycling schemes
  • Enter your company for a Green Can Award from Every Can Counts! Details can be found here
  • Contact Every Can Counts to order a free starter pack, or stickers and you could be recycling within 7 days – get started now

Download free ‘Use Every Can Counts’ posters and other communications materials to promote recycling. If you already have recycling bins then use our stickers so everyone knows which one is for their cans. These can be found here.

KAnival Krush

KAnival Krush – making Every Can Count at the Notting Hill Carnival

For two days every summer more than 1 million visitors descend on the streets of Notting Hill in London for the Notting Hill Carnival.  It’s seen as one of Europe’s biggest street parties – with live music and a colourful procession through the streets.  But all those visitors generate a lot of waste, and that was the challenge Every Can Counts set out to help with this year.

For the event we created the ‘KAnival Krush’, a recycling can exchange which we ran together with funding partner A.G. Barr’s  KA brand and Suez Environnement, waste management contractors for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). Our aim was to get visitors to the Carnival to recycle their drinks cans in exchange for a reward – a free can of KA ‘Karnival Krush’ drink.

On both days we set up the exchange at Portobello Green, located between the two main Tube stations and close to the carnival route. This busy, high profile location allowed the Every Can Counts team to interact and speak to people as they walked up and down Portobello Road enjoying the carnival atmosphere.

We handed out free bags for people to save their empty cans while they were at the carnival.  The bags of cans could be brought back to the KAnival Krush can exchange stand where the recycler would receive an Every Can Counts tattoo to show they’d recycled. Once they had received their free tattoo they then would go to the KA van to receive their free can of KA soft drink.

Over the two days we gave away 10,000 cans of KA Kanival Krush in exchange for bags of empty drink cans.  The cans we collected were added to others collected by the RBKC team over the weekend and sent for recycling.

Although Every Can Counts has attended lots of music festivals this is the first time we’ve run a can exchange and worked in partnership with a brand at an event.  It was a great opportunity to make recycling easy and fun, and working with KA meant we were able to also reward recycling too. The positive reaction and engagement from the general public showed that there is a desire for these types of activities, and importance of promoting the recycling message in a fun and interactive way.

Not only did we speak to thousands of people about recycling while they were drinking from cans ‘on the go’ we prevented cans going into the waste stream and helped improve the efficiency of the waste management operation at this major event.

We hope to bring Every Can Counts back to Notting Hill Carnival next year, and to use the can exchange model at more events to encourage more recycling and make it fun!

Retail whitepaper

The retail whitepaper

Last year we identified the retail sector as a huge opportunity in terms of drinks can recycling. Shopping centres are a perfect outlet for encouraging more beverage can recycling: They have multiple locations selling canned drinks, consumers spend a long period of dwell time in them and will often consume drinks during their visit, they have a high volume of staff that can be influenced positively and there is a high footfall of consumers.  So altogether a great opportunity to get our recycling message across.

To understand how shopping centres were performing in terms of encouraging recycling we developed a two phase research programme. Phase One saw us work closely with shopping centre destinations throughout the UK to understand the successes, challenges and strategic approaches for delivering an effective recycling programme in the retail sector. We have now completed Phase Two of our research – surveying shoppers to find out their views on recycling both at home and on the go, but also to discover how they rate recycling facilities in shopping centres and what they feel are the barriers to them recycling while they’re out and about.

In Phase Two of our the Retail Whitepaper we surveyed over 800 shoppers about their recycling habits and their views of the recycling facilities available at their local shopping centre. To read Phase Two, click here.

In Phase One of our Retail Whitepaper we interviewed six retail waste and facilities management professionals about their recycling strategy, performance and education programmes. To read Phase One, click here.

You can also download the complete whitepaper with both Phases of the research here.

Recycling in retail environments

Are recycling behaviours changing in the retail sector?

For every retail store in every shopping centre, getting punters through the door and selling them as many items as possible is the main goal. Recycling isn’t necessarily the main concern, but our retail whitepaper, which takes an in-depth look at how our recycling programme is helping shopping centres achieve sustainability targets, brings to light a change in behaviour and attitude towards recycling.

We carried out in-depth interviews with six shopping centre professionals, whose role encompasses waste management, to understand how recycling within major shopping destinations in the UK is handled. The research we carried out found that all the shopping centres that currently used the Every Can Counts initiative feel they have a strong recycling programme in place to help meet their recycling needs. The only centre that felt they didn’t currently have a strong recycling strategy, was the one business that had not implemented the Every Can Counts programme at the time of interview. This shows how shopping centres are leading the way in the retail industry to improve recycling habits and make a positive impact on their carbon footprint.

Our research also found that the ultimate recycling goal for shopping centres is to achieve 100% diversion from landfill, with two shopping centres, Thistles Shopping Centre and thecentre:mk already hitting this target. Shopping centres obviously want to maximise everything they do to lessen their carbon footprint, but maintaining this performance is an even tougher challenge. At Every Can Counts we are determined to help shopping centres achieve this target, with a support programme which can be adapted to meet their needs.

One of our participants in the report, Martin McAtee, Facilities Manager at Thistles Shopping Centre, said: “We are now achieving 100% diversion from landfill, which is our main goal and we are very pleased to have met this target. Every Can Counts has made a huge difference to our recycling activity. I don’t think they could have done much more to support us.”

It’s not just shopping centres bosses who are making all the right moves, according to our whitepaper retailers are now embracing the recycling programme and making steady improvements in educating staff. Whilst the main focus of retailers is attracting customers to their stores, our participants found that by introducing a recycling system which is both uncomplicated and well communicated has, over time, ensured retail tenants have got on board with the wider centre’s recycling initiatives.

We are now in partnership with 12 shopping centres across the country, with a combined annual footfall of over 110 million. We provide support in spreading the recycling message with a number of resources readily available. The programme can also work alongside existing recycling schemes, which in turn raise awareness and boost rates for other recyclable materials.

If you would like to get involved with Every Can Counts – get in touch here to see how you can benefit from recycling. We currently work with over 1,400 organisations and have over 4,200 sites operating the Every Can Counts programme. Just get in touch and you could be making your cans count this time next week!