Are You Mad plastic recycling concept in London's Soho

In pictures: Are You Mad plastic recycling shop in London

Green Retail World continues to cover the growth in supermarket chains’ soft plastic recycling schemes, but a pop-up plastic recycling shop in the heart of London’s Soho district is going a step further than these retailer-led schemes.

Property company Shaftesbury has donated space in Berwick Street to the Are You Mad concept, which encourages people to bring in their plastic waste to turn it into something new. The facility also collects plastic waste from nearby retail and hospitality companies, to keep it out of landfill.

Are You Mad plastic recycling concept in London's Soho
Green Retail World swung by Are You Mad to see how the store is showcasing plastic recycling

In the build-up to World Recycling Day on 18 March, Are You Mad is ramping up its messaging to Londoners, calling on more people to donate their waste.

The space exists as both a plastic sorting facility and a retail store, with the waste sorted, cleaned, shredded, and turned into new objects on site. Some of the products created from the plastic recycling including furniture, art, combs, and accessories.

Items created go on sale, with prices products starting at 50p and scaling up to a whopping £15,000.

The concept was created by James Suckling in 2022, and it has regenerated five tonnes of plastic over the last six months. Initially, Are You Mad had a pop-up in nearby Carnaby Street.

Suckling, founder of Are You Mad, said: “We hope to help people make a conscious decision to recycle unwanted plastic and turn it into something creative that can be used every day.

“World Recycling Day helps highlight the urgent need to make a difference for the future and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Emma Steele, head of retail activations at Shaftesbury, added: “Are You Mad aligns perfectly with Shaftesbury’s sustainability initiatives and is a great addition to the area.

“We are encouraging local businesses to bring their plastic waste to the unit to be recycled. This exciting concept is something we are proud to have in our Soho destination and we hope customers enjoy visiting the immersive space.”

The aim of the project is to make a difference, hence the MAD acronym in its name. Are You Mad collects three different types of plastic: HDPE, PP, and PS, which is found in items such as broken hangers, milk bottles, bottle caps, and food crates.

Soho brands supporting Are You Mad include Reckless Records, Annie’s Ibiza, Ganni, Swatch, and G-Shock. Soho Grind, Zahter, The Breakfast Club, and Le Bab are also on the plastic recycling partner list.

Are You Mad is a non-profit organisation which has partnered with The GROW Foundation, a charity that works with schools and communities delivering bespoke programmes in sustainable food growing and outdoor learning.

The site first appeared on Berwick Street on 6 December, and will stay in residence there until the summer.

[Image credits: Green Retail World]

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