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First Mile launches Return & Recycle service for hard to recycle items


Businesses and workplaces throughout the UK can now help to power the circular economy thanks to the launch of First Mile’s Return & Recycle – a low cost recycling scheme that focuses on making it easy to return items that are traditionally tricky to recycle.


Launched to coincide with Recycle Week (17 to 23 October 2022) the Return & Recycle is a simple, yet highly effective recycling service for businesses and workplaces of all types and sizes, from indie coffee shops to large office blocks.



Customers order a pack of prepaid return boxes, which transform into a smart recycling collection point within a building. Each box holds 15 kg (enough, for example, for 1200 coffee cups) and converts into a recycling point for one of six categories of material.


Collected boxes are returned to First Mile’s Returns Service Centre (RSC) where their contents are separated by material type before being processed and sent onto waste partners to be recycled to obtain the highest value in the waste hierarchy.

The company has separated hard to recycle items into six streams to increase recycling rates while also making separation for recycling feasible. Streams currently on offer include tech and electronics, kitchen, fashion, compostables, plastics and paper cups.

Speaking about the new service, First Mile founder and CEO, Bruce Bratley, said: ‘By introducing First Mile’s Return & Recycle service we are helping to power the circular economy for our clients and their customers. This nationwide solution to recycle the hard to recycle is at a sensible price and ensures recycling takes place through one of our specialist partners.’


Return & Recycle costs just £150 plus VAT which includes the cost of delivery, boxes, smart recycling posters to display, box collections and all recycling costs. The new service complements the company’s existing waste and recycling services, which operate throughout London and Birmingham.


Ordering a Return and Recycle Point is straightforward and can be done in minutes through thefirstmile.co.uk. Once a point is full and ready for collection, simply scan the QR code on the back of the box to book an internal collection.


Examples of items that can be recycled through the service, include:

  • Kitchen: includes coffee pods, corks, cartons, water filters and coffee cups.

  • Compostables: includes cups, trays, film and packaging.

  • Plastics: includes bottles, sprays, pump dispensers, pouches, bags and wraps.

  • Fashion: includes clothes, footwear and coat hangers.

  • Tech and electronics: includes phones, chargers, laptops and inkjet cartridges.

  • Paper cups: coffee cups, cold drinks cups, clean food paper pots.



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