The people of Leeds have been showing the nation their enthusiasm for recycling on-the-go.
As concerns deepen about plastic pollution and sustainability, the #LeedsByExample campaign to improve recycling has so far proven to be hugely popular, with the number of people doubling who recycle paper cups, cans and plastic packaging in the City. The six-month trial has been so successful that other towns in the UK are adopting the scheme.
Leeds City Council tells us that in Leeds alone, over 600,000 tonnes of waste are thrown away every year – and environmental charity Hubbub has determined that residents want to change this, with 51% of households seeking to reduce their domestic waste.
This aim prompted a new phase of the #LeedsByExample campaign and so the Agree Your Three initiative was been introduced.
Based on a survey of 1,000 residents, it seems the most common ways that households tackle waste are by eating leftovers, freezing more food and better planning of meals; recycling plastic bottles and cans and buying second-hand items – books, shoes, clothing and furniture. Other used items, notably children’s clothes, shoes and equipment, aren’t included by most, and fewer than a third of the households are changing the products they buy to reduce their use of plastic.
Agree Your Three asked residents to vote on the top three changes – however small – that they would be willing to make. Their choices were drawn from the following list of 10 favourites:
- Compost my kitchen food scraps
- Use a reusable coffee cup or water bottle
- #LeedsByExample and inspire, persuade and, where needed, nag my family and friends to recycle more and waste less
- Try to shop smarter and use up food in my fridge
- Give away any unwanted clothes or recycle them in a textile bank
- Take electrical items (plus batteries!) to my local recycling centre
- Recycle glass bottles and jars at my local bottle bank
- Take my reusable bag when I go shopping and buy stuff with less packaging
- Swap or share more items with others (e.g. DIY/ gardening tools)
- And if nothing else…Put cans, plastic bottles and cardboard in my green bin
A City-wide action plan will be created by the Council in response to the residents’ top three choices.
Gavin Ellis is Co-founder and Director of Hubbub. He said “The good news is there is a real appetite in Leeds to reduce waste – more than six in ten people are thinking more carefully about what they buy and half want to reduce the amount of stuff they throw out. We’d like to hear from residents about what they would consider doing to reduce the amount they throw away and recycle more.”
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Executive Board Member with responsibility for the environment, had this to say “We are very supportive of the expansion of the #LeedsByExample campaign. I am excited to learn what pledges people will be making across the City. We will work with Hubbub and others, such as Zero Waste Leeds, on how the results of the ‘Agree your three’ can be put into practice.”
Mags is the Copy Editor at Leeds Living, who scours articles and makes sure they’re perfect before they’re published. She also reviews theatre.