Following last year’s successful recycling tour, Every Can Counts is doubling down on its efforts with an inspiring awareness campaign that goes beyond the borders of Europe. At the same time, it releases interesting findings from its new research into people’s behaviours on recycling.
For the second year in a row, the “on the go” recycling campaign of Every Can Counts returns, bigger and better! If there was one core message from the Recycling Tour 2021, it’s this: People care about the environment more than ever and want to more actively participate in recycling. Last year’s inspiring, positive embrace of the programme’s recycling ambassadors empowered Every Can Counts to double down on this year’s efforts and expand its activities beyond the European borders. Therefore, for World Environment Day 2022, the tour proudly adds Brazil and Colombia, in a dynamic bid to spread the message about a more circular economy in Latin America as well.
The International Recycling Tour’s goal is to remind people that keeping public outdoor spaces clean is a collaborative effort. Small everyday acts, like proper waste disposal, can help us all towards a more sustainable living and a healthier planet. With this in mind, more than 100 recycling ambassadors will roam parks, cities, and beaches, donning their vibrant backpacks in the following countries: Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Their mission? To encourage people to keep public outdoor spaces clean and recycle their drink cans wherever they are.
In addition to outdoor games, dance acts, and online competitions, people in several locations will have the opportunity to admire the head-turning Pixelata, a trademark installation of the programme that fuses art, environmental awareness, and guest participation. Empty drink cans are used to form pixelated images in large format, creating impressive murals to be admired from afar, while communicating innovatively key recycling messages. Another popular Instagram backdrop is the iconic #EveryCanCounts Rainbow, an installation made of 2,500 recycled drink cans.
“This very special day dedicated to the environment offers two unique opportunities for us. One is to hold, for the second year in a row, our “on the go” drink can recycling campaign in more than 20 locations at the same time. And the second is to communicate the insightful findings of our study on recycling habits and attitudes in Europe”, says Vital Beauvois, Chairman of Every Can Counts.
New survey: 9 in 10 Europeans want companies to improve the recyclability of their drink packaging
A vast majority of Europeans said protecting the environment and recycling is important but not enough is being done to address the current environmental challenges, according to a survey performed in 14 European countries by the LUCID polling agency in association with the Every Can Counts initiative, in view of World Environment Day 2022.
The survey reveals that European citizens want more to be done to protect the environment (91%) and although there is a sense of individual responsibility, the onus is first and foremost on companies to improve the recyclability of their packaging. 87% of respondents said that companies should only use packaging that is infinitely recyclable, while 89% agree that companies should be held responsible for the packaging they select, and should only use fully recyclable packaging. Comparatively, less than 7 out of 10 believe consumers should be held responsible for the packaging they buy.
When asked about necessary initiatives to protect the environment, 69% of people prioritised reducing waste, 63% encouraging individuals to recycle more, followed by initiatives around reversing habitat loss, replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy and discouraging companies (through taxation or otherwise) from using products that damage the environment. Reducing air travel, along with meat and dairy consumption appear necessary to less than a third of respondents.
Recycling is challenging; consumers would like more support
Amongst the more than 12,800 people interviewed, just 52% always recycle their drink cans when at home. Recycling rates drop dramatically when out of the home, with only 33% of Europeans placing their drink cans in recycling bins when at work, and 30% when out and about.
It thus comes as no surprise that respondents call for better recycling infrastructure, as 52% would like more recycling bins in public areas and 50% favour implementing deposit return schemes. To support recycling efforts, 53% of citizens want their countries to only use fully recyclable packaging.
These findings are complemented by public perception of sustainable packaging. For the majority of consumers (60%), a sustainable packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, while about half say it’s infinitely recyclable. However, the insights also reveal a lack of consumer knowledge as only 19% say “small and light to transport” make a packaging sustainable. “Lightweight and low-volume reduces energy used for transport and storage, thereby reducing the environmental footprint of drink packaging. Because they’re light and infinitely recyclable, drink cans are one of the most energy-efficient materials to recycle,” explains David Van Heuverswyn, Director of Every Can Counts Europe.
“Drink cans recycle forever. This is the main message of our tour and the reason why we are working to inspire behaviour change and help reach 100% can recycling in Europe and beyond. This ambitious target can only be reached if consumers, brands, event organisers and local communities join forces to recycle every drink can and build together a more sustainable planet.” he says.