Canary Wharf Group showcases HELPFUL app and launches next steps in Breaking The Plastic Habit campaign


On the 10th January, Canary Wharf Group launched, in partnership with HELPFUL, the revolutionary HELPFUL app. The world’s first plastic recycling and rewarding app, HELPFUL simplifies and incentivises reuse and recycling for consumers.

Piloted by Canary Wharf Group, the app will help the 150,000 people who visit and work on the Estate each day to correctly recycle waste, switch to reusable products and collect rewards; the app is another pioneering step in making sustainable behaviour achievable on a community-wide scale. As John Garwood, MD and Group Company Secretary of Canary Wharf Group said “if everyone changed one little thing to become more sustainable, this would create a world of change,”.

With 500 downloads of the app in its first three days, this pioneering Estate-wide effort to drive behavioural change is the next step in Canary Wharf Group’s continued campaign towards becoming the world’s first Plastic Free Commercial Centre following the Surfers Against Sewage framework. It is also the first time that HELPFUL have been able to incorporate rewards for reuse as well as recycling on a large scale.

Participating retailers at Canary Wharf that will be supporting the app with QR code points to claim reuse coin rewards, include Café Nero, Carluccio’s, Crussh, Eat, Krispy Kreme, Leon, Notes Coffee, Ole & Steen, Paul, Pret a Manger, Scribbler, Starbucks and Ted Baker, with Surfers Against Sewage providing reward items that are also claimable through the app.

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of SAS of Surfers Against Sewage presented at the Breakfast Briefing,giving background to the Plastic Free Commercial Centre pledge Canary Wharf have made and the philosophy behind the charity. He told the audience that actions like the Surfers Against Sewage campaign and Canary Wharf’s pledge are “reinventing the relationship we have with plastic in order to create a better future and long-term positive change.”

Martin Gettings, Group Head of Sustainability at Canary Wharf Group emphasised that they “hope the commitment culture Canary Wharf Group is fostering on the Estate will act as an incredible beacon of best practice.” By promoting and supporting a closed loop circular economy on the Estate, Martin Gettings hopes Canary Wharf will “change the way people think about waste and consider how we can all use our resources in the best possible way, sharing best practice, building excitement around the activities and celebrating the art of the possible in order to tackle the issues as quickly as possible.”

During a live demonstration, the audience was able to see exactly how to use the HELPFUL App,by scanning coffee cups or plastic bottles the user receives immediate feedback on where exactly on the Estate you are able to recycle or reuse the plastic products. It was also demonstrated how to claim the virtual reward “coin”, redeemable via QR codes on the recycling/reuse points across the Estate.

Canary Wharf’s unparalleled commitment to creating a sustainable micro city goes even further than launch of the HELPFUL app. January sees the return of Canary Wharf Group’s award-winning Winter Lights festival for a fifth year. For 2019, Winter Lights will have a particular focus on sustainability and the environment. Many of the 20 installations will have been made using recycled and sustainable materials, whilst others portray strong messages about recycling and climate change. Alexander Reichstein’s stunning Last Parade installation will project the shadows of endangered animals whilst Zac Greening’s Blue Neuron sculptures have been produced entirely from reused plastic bottles.

Other successful sustainability initiatives on the Estate include Wharf Kitchen. Situated in Jubilee Place, the vibrant new food hall offers diners a choice of cuisines from across the globe but in keeping with Canary Wharf’s Breaking The Plastic Habit initiative, all food packaging and cups used as part of Wharf Kitchen are compostable and go into a dedicated waste stream to be turned into commercial compost. To help make using refillable water bottles become the new norm, Canary Wharf have also installed seven refill stations across the Estate, giving access to water on the go across the malls. In addition to this, the five day nurseries of the Estate’s Bright Horizons Foundation for Children have eliminated single-use plastic and taken delivery of over 500 reusable water bottles. They are also installing water dispensers in the nurseries for refilling the bottles.

For more details on Canary Wharf’s Group’s Breaking The Plastic Habit Campaign, please visit

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