Help us reach our #2millionchallenge

  • Date Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Our bins have had a makeover, helping encourage residents and visitors to continue to recycle their paper cups and help us reach our #2millionchallenge

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Emma Charter

Have you seen our “Good Cup, Bad Cup” campaign? Better Bankside has collaborated with a renowned artist, Timba Smits, to create a unique set of artworks on its coffee cup recycling bins, as an animated way to encourage recycling and inspire positive action. The new designs form part of our #2millionchallenge campaign, which aims to boost coffee cup recycling in the district and hopes the use of eye-catching visual art will remind people about the importance of moving beyond single use coffee cups.

Better Bankside, in partnership with Team London Bridge, was one of five programmes chosen to be awarded funding by The Cup Fund in 2019, as part of a £300,000 grant for organisations in London to kickstart paper cup recycling programmes in their area. Since receiving the grant in 2020, along with Team London Bridge, we have invested heavily in coffee cup bins, recycling bags and awareness of the issue across the neighbourhood, with a target of 2 million coffee cups to be collected for recycling.

llustrator Timba Smits has created a series of tongue-in-cheek designs to support the campaign, highlighting the disposable coffee cup crisis, the need to recycle, the push to adopt reusable cups, as well as demonstrating the power of visual art in inspiring collective action. By incorporating eye-catching designs and messages on our coffee cup recycling bins, we aim to highlight the importance of environmental sustainability and create an emotional connection with the public through the use of visual art, which motivates them to take action and recycle their cups.

Having successfully collected 1.8 million coffee cups to date, the new illustrations on 15 of our coffee cups bins will further encourage residents and visitors to continue to recycle their paper cups and help us reach our 2 million cup goal. The new bin designs follow an eye-catching street mural painted by Smits in Borough Market back in November 2022, to tie in with our Frost Fair celebrations.

Timba Smits said: “Working in collaboration with Better Bankside on their coffee cup recycling campaign has been a real highlight project for me.

“Art has the power to communicate big ideas. The coffee cup crisis is a serious issue, but one that is often ignored. I wanted to employ my graphic style and own brand of tongue-in-cheek humour to educate people about the damaging effects of their coffee cup consumption. I created a spin on an 1950’s advert, that ‘sells’ the negative effects of single-use coffee cups, disrupts the viewer and delivers impact through a memorable, cheeky image.”

“Rolling the idea out across Bankside’s coffee-cup recycling bins allowed ‘The Villain’ to spin the opportunity, gathering minions for his evil lair members club, by tricking people to use the bins through the impactful campaign messaging.”

Nicole Gordon, CEO of Better Bankside added: “Seven million single use coffee cups are thrown away every day in the UK, with only 4% of these recycled. Part of the problem is that single use coffee cups are lined with a layer of plastic and can only be processed by special recycling centres, so despite best intentions, the vast majority will end up in landfill. We’ve been working hard to change behaviour to shift the dial, one of our tactics has been to place hard to ignore bright orange bins throughout the neighbourhood. Put a coffee cup in one of our bins and it will be recycled. We hope the newly-designed bins will encourage Bankside’s workers, residents and visitors to keep using them, and help us reach our 2 million cup goal. Of course reuse is even better than recycling which is why we are also working with local businesses to increase use of reusable cups.”

Find out more about our #2millionchallenge paper cup recycling initiative