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First Mile is calling on landlords of multi-tenanted properties throughout the UK to embrace the use of QR-coded recycling sacks to boost their tenants’ recycling rates and reduce the contamination of recyclable waste. 

Landlords of multi-tenanted properties often face complex waste challenges such as lack of space, mixed waste streams, and low awareness among tenants of what can, and can’t, be recycled. In response, First Mile is encouraging the use of RecycleID - where QR codes, which are personalised to each customer, are printed onto recycling sacks and then scanned on both drop off and collection by First Mile. 

This technology has revolutionised the recycling process, enabling landlords and other business owners to access real-time data about the recycling’s end location, ensuring complete transparency and accountability. It also gives the opportunity to access individual recycling statistics, enabling accurate carbon data and recycling reporting. Landlords can also scan their QR code using First Mile’s RecycleID app to access their account and information.  

As each code is specific to a business or tenant, the technology also means that any contamination issues - such as food waste being put in a dry mixed recycling sack - can be identified. First Mile’s app sends a picture, alongside advice on how to resolve the issue. Since 2018, First Mile has sent 200,000 contamination emails to landlords and business owners, working with them to educate and support them in ensuring that the right items are being placed in the right sacks, fostering a sense of collective responsibility towards the environment. 

First Mile founder and CEO, Bruce Bratley, said: “Our RecycleID initiative recently celebrated its five-year anniversary and has, to date, incorporated QR codes on 40 million recycling sacks across the UK. These QR codes have empowered our customers, including landlords, to gain valuable insights in their business recycling activity and boost their commitment to sustainability and dedication to having a positive impact on the environment.” 

Case study: A Chelsea and Kensington estate 

First Mile works with a prestigious estate in Chelsea & Kensington with 19 businesses of differing types and sizes in the area. Since working with First Mile and RecycleID, this area has improved its recycling rate by 10% and decreased its contamination rate by 20%. A particular improvement was seen in food waste being placed in Dry Mixed Recycling. First Mile was able to pinpoint the exact customer and offer relevant advice to resolve the issue. 

First Mile was also able to offer tailored solutions to businesses based on their individual identified wase needed, for example, stationary recycling to a paper/art shop. In total for the area, First Mile increased the total waste streams from four to eight different streams based on tracking the types of waste being produced. A food waste scheme introduced also led to cost savings of around a third for the local businesses.  

QR codes form part of a wider focus for First Mile to empower businesses to improve their sustainability through data and education on their waste management, offering free waste audits, workshops and webinars, and help in setting up their recycling stations. 

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