For two days every summer more than 1 million visitors descend on the streets of Notting Hill in London for the Notting Hill Carnival. It’s seen as one of Europe’s biggest street parties – with live music and a colourful procession through the streets. But all those visitors generate a lot of waste, and that was the challenge Every Can Counts set out to help with this year.
For the event we created the ‘KAnival Krush’, a recycling can exchange which we ran together with funding partner A.G. Barr’s KA brand and Suez Environnement, waste management contractors for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). Our aim was to get visitors to the Carnival to recycle their drinks cans in exchange for a reward – a free can of KA ‘Karnival Krush’ drink.
On both days we set up the exchange at Portobello Green, located between the two main Tube stations and close to the carnival route. This busy, high profile location allowed the Every Can Counts team to interact and speak to people as they walked up and down Portobello Road enjoying the carnival atmosphere.
We handed out free bags for people to save their empty cans while they were at the carnival. The bags of cans could be brought back to the KAnival Krush can exchange stand where the recycler would receive an Every Can Counts tattoo to show they’d recycled. Once they had received their free tattoo they then would go to the KA van to receive their free can of KA soft drink.
Over the two days we gave away 10,000 cans of KA Kanival Krush in exchange for bags of empty drink cans. The cans we collected were added to others collected by the RBKC team over the weekend and sent for recycling.
Although Every Can Counts has attended lots of music festivals this is the first time we’ve run a can exchange and worked in partnership with a brand at an event. It was a great opportunity to make recycling easy and fun, and working with KA meant we were able to also reward recycling too. The positive reaction and engagement from the general public showed that there is a desire for these types of activities, and importance of promoting the recycling message in a fun and interactive way.
Not only did we speak to thousands of people about recycling while they were drinking from cans ‘on the go’ we prevented cans going into the waste stream and helped improve the efficiency of the waste management operation at this major event.
We hope to bring Every Can Counts back to Notting Hill Carnival next year, and to use the can exchange model at more events to encourage more recycling and make it fun!