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Apps and voting bins trial to tackle on-the-go recycling

’Gamified’ bins and a mobile phone app will be introduced this summer in Leeds as part of a project designed to boost recycling of food and drink packaging.

Environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub is leading the #Leedsbyexample initiative, which will take place from September. The six-month trial is designed to address the growing challenge of encouraging young people particularly to recycle packaging from takeaway food.

Hubbub is working with recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety and companies including Asda, Coca-Cola GB and Marks & Spencer on the six-month pilot project, which could be rolled out nationally.

The pilot will see a major communications campaign across Leeds, with adverts, posters and stickers to encourage the recycling of food packaging in ”bright recycling bins” across the city centre.

A spokesperson said gamified bins would include allowing people to vote between two options “by disposing of their item in one of two containers”.

An app developed by On-Pack Recycling Label will help people to understand how to recycle on-the-go and where to find their nearest bins.

Hubbub and its project partners are currently planning what the bins will look like and are considering the options, including getting advice from similar initiatives abroad. A spokeswoman said the design would be ”eye-catching and bold”.

The takeaway food industry is expected to be worth more than £23bn by 2022, according to industry charity IGD, with 18- to 25-year-olds the biggest consumers.

But a poll last year by Serco’s Environmental Services business and research partner Future Thinking found that so-called millennials were the least likely age group to recycle.

A Recoup report last year described “inadequate” on-the-go collection infrastructure across the UK, with councils citing high levels of contamination and insufficient budgets as reasons for this.

Ecosurety managing director James Piper said: “While recycling on-the-go can seem a complex issue to tackle, we believe simple infrastructure improvements and clear communication could make a huge difference to recycling rates and litter.

“We hope that by demonstrating there are alternative ways of collecting and dealing with recycling, we can inspire other parts of the UK to follow suit.”

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