First Mile celebrates five years of tackling contamination and providing end-destination reassurance through QR codes on 40 million recycling sacks
First Mile celebrates five years of tackling contamination and providing end-destination reassurance through QR codes on 40 million recycling sacks

This Recycle Week (16-20 October) First Mile is proud to celebrate the five-year anniversary of its RecycleID initiative – incorporating QR codes on 40 million recycling sacks across the UK and working together with its customers to tackle recycling contamination, boost recycling rates and reduce businesses’ carbon footprint. 

Each First Mile customer has a personalised QR code, which is printed on its recycling sacks and scanned on both drop off and collection by First Mile. Customers can also scan their QR code using First Mile’s Smart Cities App to access their account and information.  This is particularly useful for businesses with complex waste management needs, such as multi-tenanted housing and shopping centres.   

This technology has revolutionised the recycling process, enabling customers to access real-time data about the recycling’s end location, ensuring complete transparency and accountability. It also gives customers the opportunity to access their individual recycling statistics, enabling accurate carbon data and recycling reporting. 

As each code is specific to a customer, 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 which is then emailed to the customer, alongside advice on how to resolve the issue.  Since 2018, First Mile has sent 200,000 contamination emails to customers, 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, says: “Since its inception, First Mile has been committed to promoting environmental sustainability and the introduction of QR codes on recycling bags in 2018 marked a significant milestone in our journey towards a greener future. These QR codes have empowered our customers to gain valuable insights in their business recycling activity and they have embraced this technology wholeheartedly, with around 40 million bags being scanned and tracked to date. This achievement is a testament to our shared commitment to sustainability and our customers’ dedication to making a positive impact on the environment.” 

QR codes form part of 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. For more information visit 

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