Merton celebrates the success of #InTheLoop campaign

Today, as the country marks the start of Recycling Week (20-26 September), Merton Council are releasing the results of its #InTheLoop campaign, a trial scheme run in partnership with the environmental charity Hubbub, evian (sponsors), and Sustainable Merton. The campaign aimed to improve on-street recycling in Wimbledon during The Championships. 

Prior to the #InTheLoop campaign, a survey of local residents found that around half didn’t recycle when on the go, as they were unsure of what they could put in the recycling bin, or they couldn’t find one. Therefore, a new system was needed to both increase the amount that residents recycled when out and about, and make sure that they understood what could be recycled to avoid contamination. 

To achieve these goals, the #InTheLoop campaign adopted a two-part strategy of introducing new infrastructure and rolling out an educational communications campaign. 

The infrastructure came in the form of 50 new innovative bins with clearer labelling to avoid confusion over what could and couldn’t be recycled. 

The communications campaign was rolled out across the local press, social media platforms and in-person engagement, and reached 900,000 people. The messaging was locally relevant and tailored to target audiences to make residents and visitors more willing to recycle. 

The results saw a huge raise in the levels of target materials collected, with the collection of plastic bottles and cans up almost threefold, and contamination of waste in the bins down by five percent (by weight). All-in-all, the new bins collected an estimated 40,100 plastic bottles and 47,900 cans over four months – that’s around 1.75 tonnes of packaging.

The council are now considering how best to use the learnings from the campaign borough-wide.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Local Environment and Green Spaces, Councillor Natasha Irons, said: “It is great to see the impact that the #IntheLoop trail has had in Wimbledon town centre, where and impressive nine in ten plastic bottles and cans are being disposed of in recycling bins, compared to one in two before the campaign ran.”