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Communications key to meeting recycling targets at Olympics 2012

An effective communications programme will be key to encouraging recycling at venues for the 2012 Olympic Games, according to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

At Recoup’s ‘Recycling On The Go’ conference LOCOG corporate sustainability manager Phil Cumming said: “The view was that there were significant shortcomings on existing recycling communications schemes for wider sporting events in the past. There has not been a consistent recycling message across them. So, LOCOG are working with WRAP to develop a new communications scheme which we will trial this summer at testing events.”

When asked by a delegate how visitors would be incentivised to recycle, Cumming said: “It is a real challenge for events and many generally achieve a 15-20% recycling rate, so for us to achieve a 70% recycling rate, it’s going to be a real challenge in a pressurised environment.

“We’re looking at placing a lot of importance on communications and trying to get the point across to make recycling as easy and unambiguous as we can.”

At the suggestion of using deposit schemes to encourage more visitors to the Olympic Games to recycle, Cumming explained that although this has worked well at previous sporting events like Euro 2008, it would not transfer to such a mass-scale event as the Olympics.

Sita UK was recently announced as the master waste contractor to the Olympic Games. LOCOG expects an extra 8,000 tonnes of waste to be produced by the Games, 60% of which is expected to be organic waste. “It doesn’t sound like a lot of extra waste but it is the intensity of it that’s the issue because it works out to an extra two or three tonnes per day,” Cumming added.

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