Coca-Cola Enterprises launches online challenge to increase at home recycling rates

Sensemaking / Coca-Cola Enterprises launches online challenge to increase at home recycling rates

Members of the online community will generate ideas for innovative solutions to close the gap between intentions and actions.

By Duncan Jefferies / 31 Mar 2014

When it comes to recycling, people’s intentions don’t always match their actions – something a new recycling initiative from Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) aims to address. The 11-week challenge, in partnership with online innovation platform, will encourage the latter’s 60,000 global members to come up with innovative yet practical solutions for encouraging people across Europe to recycle more.

In the first part of the challenge, the community will be invited to share their insights on some of the barriers that prevent people from recycling; then, during the ‘ideas’ phase, submit and collaborate on solutions for overcoming them.

“While we can leverage our experience and expertise to educate and inspire consumers to recycle more often, we recognise we don’t have all the answers”, says Joe Franses, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Director, CCE. “So we are collaborating with other thought leaders, and the best creative minds in the global community, to help generate ideas that could deliver real change in at-home recycling habits.”

According to a YouGov survey carried out last year, three quarters of British and French people claim to ‘always’ recycle plastic bottles at home. However, recycling rates don’t reflect this: only around half of all plastic bottles sold in Great Britain and France are collected for recycling. CCE’s ‘Recycle for the Future’ campaign aims to identify the reasons behind the disparity between people’s intentions and actions and increase at-home recycling rates. It commissioned a study, Unpacking the Household, from the University of Exeter, led by Dr Stewart Barr, in order to better understand how certain household dynamics contribute to the problem.

Twenty families, couples and single-person households in Great Britain and France were observed in their own homes for six months. The study showed that people’s recycling behaviour is largely instinctive, with new thinking required to break bad habits. The aesthetics of recycling bins can also limit the space allocated to recycling, and better information on recycling processes is needed to combat scepticism (many believe that it is ‘sent to landfill’ or ‘exported abroad’).

The study’s findings form the basis of CCE and’s online challenge. “We hope that some of the ideas generated from this challenge will help to meet the recommendations that came out of the study into recycling rates, by calling time on out-dated recycling habits and providing popular, straightforward solutions for households”, says Nathan Waterhouse, Director of

Anyone can sign up for the challenge by visiting or follow #recyclechallenge on Twitter for updates. Once it closes on June 17 2014, the ideas that have been generated will be evaluated by an external advisory panel. The most promising ones will then be revealed to the public. – Duncan Jefferies

Photo credit: Andrew Hobbs/Thinkstock


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