Top ways to get involved with recycle week

October 7, 2020

What are some ways you plan on getting involved with Recycle Week? ♻

This year, Recycle Week is taking place from the 21st to the 27th of September. Last year, Recycle Week was focused on environmental issues, and supporting causes put forward by Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. According to WRAP, 91% of the people who viewed last year’s campaign said they recycled more than last year!

This year, Recycle Week is about celebrating all the collectors and recycling employees that have kept on working throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Can we get more people recycling this year again? 🎉

What is Recycle Week?

Recycle Week started 18 years ago as a campaign to celebrate recycling, plastic consciousness and taking care of our planet. It’s organised by WRAP and the “Recycle Now” brand, with this year’s banner titled ‘Together - We Recycle’. It’s a week that encourages people to be conscious about their use of certain materials, and the importance of rinsing, sorting and separating various plastics when using them.

According to research from Recycle Now, 60% of households in the UK are recycling more than one year ago, and nearly a third say that the reasons are mostly environmental. This is great news, and demonstrates that campaigns and raising awareness play a big role in moving towards a future where recycling is more common and plastics are used less than ever.

This year the campaign has received the support from quite a few major donors, including Sainsbury’s, Highland Spring, Danone, Aldi and more. They will be funding various activities throughout the week to help encourage locals to recycle more often. If you own a coffee shop, restaurant or takeaway, there are a few ways you can get involved in Recycle Week. 👇

Tips to get involved

Raise awareness

According to a survey done in 2017 by Nielsen, 85% of millennials from the ages of 21 to 34 consider it very important that companies implement programs to improve and help the environment. Since Millennials and Gen Zs are the generations that consume the most coffee and drive most of the industry, companies that make an effort to be environmentally conscious are likely to come ahead.

Raising awareness and promoting sustainability is a great way to get involved in Recycle Week. This could be as minimal as posting something on social media with the hashtag #RecycleWeek, or downloading the Recycle Week media assets and placing them in your coffee shop or restaurant. You can also add a Recycling Locator on your website to help visitors find out how to recycle their items.

Recycle Week aside, raising awareness is something that can be done at any time of the year. You could post educational content about recycling on your website or in your shop, or encourage customers to participate in any of your sustainability initiatives or programmes.

Offer discounts to personal coffee cups

Takeaway coffee cups are one of the more harmful single-use plastics. That’s because coffee cups require several different types of plastics, making it hard to recycle appropriately. The recycle logo you see on the cup is usually for the cardboard sleeve, rather than the coffee cup itself. This means that most coffee cups end up in a landfill - in fact, it’s estimated that 500,000 coffee cups are dropped as litter every day in the UK, and over 2.5 billion cups are thrown away every year. There are few facilities in the UK that go through the appropriate process in order to recycle disposable cups, with estimates saying that only 1% of the 2.5 billion cups are recycled.

Coffee cups are harmful for the environment, and yet our coffee consumption is only increasing. As a coffee shop, you can help tackle the issue of single-use coffee cups by using more eco-friendly materials, not using disposable coffee cups or one popular method: offering discounts to those who bring their own coffee cups.

Reduce plastic consumption

One of the best ways to reduce plastic waste is to not consume it in the first place. As a small business, there are a few ways you can reduce your consumption of plastic: you could use glass bottles and containers, compostable food containers, large refillable bottles for condiments, metal or compostable cutlery and paper straws instead of plastic ones.

When it comes to drinks, consider offering glasses with water rather than a vending machine with plastic bottles. For plastic bags, encourage customers to bring their own bags and use reusable shopping bags.

Look for ways to recycle

The one piece of good news is that it’s easier to recycle now than ever. Everything can be recycled including your coffee grounds, cooking oils, furniture and cultery. Consider getting rid of your paper, cardboard and plastic with recycling bins instead of paying for general waste.

With cooking oils and other organic waste, you can recycle those in specific oil bins and even sell them for a decent amount of money (those can be recycled into biofuels). If you have any questions regarding recycling, talk to your local recycling contractors to see how they can help you. Check the internet for how recycling works in your local area and make sure your staff and cleaners are able to follow your recycling program.

Switch to card payments

Banknotes are not very eco-friendly. In fact, the new UK bank notes are made of polymer plastics, which in many ways make them worse than the older banknotes. According to research, the new £10 note releases 8.77kg of CO2, nearly three times more than the previous bank notes! Banknotes and cash not only cause pollution, but are difficult to recycle.

That’s why the most environmentally friendly payment method is the bank card. According to this article, a card produces just 20.8 grams of CO2 over its three year lifespan, just a fraction of what banknotes produce. By using an online ordering system and accepting mobile payments, you’re helping reduce the use of cash and therefore plastic.

In fact, that’s what we do at Pomelo Pay: we help coffee shop owners and restaurants accept payments with just their phone. By using QR code technology, your phone turns into a Point of Sale and your customer will simply need to scan a QR code with their smartphone in order to complete the payment. No need for menus, receipts or card machines, everything is done digitally! Although phones are not incredibly environmentally friendly either, they offer us a step away from cash.

This year, Recycle Week is about celebrating recycle and waste key workers who kept on working throughout the lockdown, as well as raising awareness for recycling. We hope these tips will inspire business owners to take a stand on recycling and help encourage others to do more for our planet.