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PECT wins new project to tackle single-use food and drinks packaging

PECT Update Waste

We are delighted to be one of the six winners of the £1.4 million Bring it Back Fund launched by Hubbub and Starbucks.

Concerns over the climate are at all-time high and more and more people are looking to make more sustainable choices. Public attitudes to packaging are changing too, with 67% of people saying they want to reduce the amount of single-use packaging they use when buying food and drink products1.

To help tackle single-use culture, PECT, alongside five other winners across the UK, have won funding from the £1.4 million Bring it Back Fund launched by Hubbub and Starbucks.

Working in collaboration with plastics and resources recycling charity, RECOUP, the Bring it Back project will work with communities in and around Peterborough to reduce single-use packaging and transition to reuse schemes in cafes, schools and at work.

Also working on the project are local, ethical creative agency, Kakadu Creative and behaviour change specialists from The University of Sheffield.

What will the project do?

Bring It Back will create a series of mini-trials for different communities around Peterborough including catering facilities at Nene Park Trust, Oundle Market Town and local secondary schools. The trials will test how reusable packaging schemes work and what needs to change to make them a long-term solution. These will be developed in collaboration with local communities to ensure all feedback and needs are taken into consideration.

PECT will pull together the learnings of the project to inform a digital toolkit that other organisations and communities around the UK can use. The digital toolkit will be an easy way for groups to reduce single-use packaging in their area, meaning less waste being thrown away, getting lost in our local environment and affecting our wildlife. It also will reduce the energy and materials needed to create single-use packaging in the first place.

“We are all used to the convenience of single-use packaging such as crisp packets and coffee cups. But we don’t always see the impact they have on the planet and our communities’ says PECT Senior Project Coordinator, Maria Basilisco, “The Bring it Back project aims to help tackle this. We’re hoping that by working closely with each community, and understanding their needs, we can figure out if there is a way to make reusables as easy and as widespread as single use.”

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-founder of Hubbub:

“With the Bring It Back Fund, we set out to find innovators with pioneering new approaches to test and learn how to shift people’s habits to use alternatives to single-use packaging. By involving a range of groups and testing behaviour change initiatives in different settings like schools, offices and cafés, PECT’s project will help create a rich and better understanding of what works and what doesn’t at a local level. We hope these learnings will in turn inspire other communities to roll out projects to tackle single-use packaging.”

Alex Rayner, General Manager at Starbucks UK, comments:

“We are really proud that PECT and RECOUP will receive funding for such important reuse initiatives, and we look forward to seeing how their trials progress. We’ve introduced an array of different reusable activations over the years to test and trial new ways to encourage reuse. Our latest work with Hubbub, the Bring It Back Fund, builds on our reusables work, aiming to find new ways to inspire people and our customers to choose to reuse. It is important for us as a company that we continue to drive industry-wide innovation, as we work to increase reusability and inspire greater reusables uptake in local communities across the UK. This forms part of our long-term goal to reduce waste and become a resource positive company.”

What is reusable packaging?

Reusable packaging systems offer an alternative to single-use packaging (e.g. coffee cups). They work on the basis that the packaging is returned to a point where it can be collected, whether that be the café, your doorstep (i.e. milkman) or any other convenient location. Once collected, the packaging can be cleaned and reused by others. By reusing the same materials again and again, we can save money, energy and resources.

How can I get involved?

Take the survey to help PECT and RECOUP understand your thoughts on reusable packaging and help influence the project in your local area:

Take the survey here

  1. Censuswide surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,012 UK residents from 4 – 7 April 2022