Thank you for recycling

Progress on biomass waste sent to UK landfill

Nov 2021

It was bin day in my house during a very downbeat COP26 and I found myself wondering if I should even bother sorting my yoghurt pots and squashing cereal packets?

So I went searching for numbers and found data buried in a Defra publication that says we definitely should keep up our home recycling efforts. It's working!

Clearly there is lots more we need to do to green our lifestyles but I think a bit more messaging on what already works is probably overdue. Small changes in personal behaviour can have a big impact.

When it comes to climate change, there has to be space for hope in amongst the doom.

UK recycling schemes have helped cut biomass sent to landfill by 49% in the last decade

Making this visualisation

A data visualisation tool I've come to love this year isn't a data tool at all. Figma allows you to edit vector graphics and unleash a little creativity with data visualisation. It pairs beautifully with SVG-ready charting tools such as

This is a simple bar chart re-oriented and hand drawn in Figma. I used masks to create the see-through effect that cuts through the cardboard to show the photo of landfill.

A big thanks to my colleagues at Nationwide who attend our weekly Design & Visualisation session. I shared the first iteration with them and whilst they liked the concept, they rightly found some issues with typography, copy writing and layout. What you see here is a much more polished result based on advice from Eli Penny, Phil Hyland, James Hardie, Jamie Durup and Tom Mitchell. Thank you team!

Biodegradable municipal waste sent to UK landfill (Defra)

This is the original chart from Defra. The time series on the Y-axis irked me and the national split was of little interest to the story.

I hope my makeover tells a rather more impactful tale of recycling in the UK.