With busy schedules we're eating and drinking more and more whilst on the move. Last year alone we spent a whopping £17.4 billion on food and drink to eat on-the-go in the UK. It stacks up to about 13 billion plastic bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and nearly 3 billion coffee cups every year! 

#LeedsByExample has been testing a new approach to recycling on-the-go by recycling empty plastic, cans and coffee cups. 


How to recycle on-the-go in Leeds:


Keep hold of your plastic, cans and coffee cups and make sure they're empty

Leftover food and liquid could make a whole batch go to waste.


Find a recycling bin at a yellow pin

There are over 100 in Leeds City Centre, you’re never more than 5 minutes away! Empty coffee cups can be recycled in any Caffè Nero, Costa, McDonald's, Pret and Starbucks or in one of 5 new bright orange bins.


Follow the signs and only recycle items they ask for

If in doubt, leave it out.


For now, please leave out crisp packets, sandwich wraps, coffee cup lids, cardboard food containers and polystyrene trays - these can't be recycled. 


Find your nearest recycling bin:


What’s on in Leeds


Get rewards for recycling

Recycle reward machines are common around parts of Europe and can help improve recycling by offering money off vouchers. Leeds has 7 installed, giving you a chance to make some money from your used empty plastic bottles, cans and coffee cups! 

  • Beckett University (one plastic and can, and one coffee cup machine – 20p) 

  • Kirkgate Market (plastic and can machine – 10p) 

  • Trinity Kitchen (one plastic and can machine in Trinity Kitchen – 10p, two coffee cup crusher characters in the main shopping centre (no rewards).  

  • Heron Foods (one plastic and can machine – 10p) 

Bubble bins

Gordon and Alan Binnit are Leeds’ resident bubble bins, blowing bubbles in exchange for plastic bottles and cans. If you’d like a visit from them or to take advantage of our business offer for free communications, discounted recycling bins or waste collections email recycle@hubbub.org.uk


New seating area made from recycled plastic 

If at St James’ hospital, there's benches for you to sit and enjoy your food and drink on-the-go. It may look like wood but do not be deceived, it’s made from recycled plastic bottles!  



As well as Leeds City Centre, we're comparing recycling in more residential place in East Leeds. Find the 4 plastic/ can bins if you’re passing, at the Tesco site, black shops south parkway and Ramshead Hill and watch this space for more events. 


The impact so far

The latest monitoring of the yellow plastic and can recycling bins in Leeds shows that we're getting 79% of the target material. This means the remaining 21% is things we don’t want such as food and drink or coffee cups.

Results from phase 1 – October 2018 – March 2019



To find out more, please click the links below: