McDonalds and Wrigley add support to national Litter Manifesto

Businesses and campaign groups have backed a new Litter Manifesto calling on the Government to tackle the UK's £1bn litter problem.

The signatories, including leaders from McDonald’s and chewing gum maker Wrigley and national pub chains, wrote a letter to the Guardian calling on the Government to help create a national strategy to deal with litter.

The Litter Manifesto's supporters include campaign groups Keep Britain Tidy and Clean Up Britain, as well as conservation charity the Marine Conservation Society, the British Plastics Federation and waste management company Veolia.

Changing behaviour

“Littering affects us all – making our local spaces dirtier, less welcoming, and encouraging antisocial behaviour,” the group writes. “Reducing litter is fundamentally a question of changing behaviour, and it is up to all of us to take action.”

The group called on the Government to “lead the way by creating a national strategy that has teeth, and providing or stimulating funding.”

According to Hubbub, the organisation leading the new campaign, 86% of people find litter a “disgusting habit”, but just 15% said they would confront someone guilty of littering.

Neat Streets

Hubbub recently launched its ‘Neat Streets’ campaign in Villers Street in Westminster, to trial new approaches to behaviour change and attempt to cut London’s street litter.

The group’s campaigning has included creating talking bins which respond to use, circling in chalk pieces from dropped chewing gum and handing out mini containers which could be used to store used gum.

Hubbub CEO Trewin Restorick told edie: "Villiers Street is the second busiest pedestrian street in the capital and is currently cleaned 7 times a day.  Over a six month period we are running a social experiment in the street to see what interventions, if any, can cut littering."

According to Restorick, fast food littering increased 20% in 2014, while funding is being cut to charities, such as Keep Britain Tidy, which have worked to raise awareness about littering.

"Central to this manifesto is a call for government to take increased leadership," said Restorick.

"Our ambition is that we will see a more strategic response to fighting litter involving greater collaboration from all parties including government, industry and people."

Don't mess

The letter added the Government should try to emulate the success of Texas’s ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ campaign, a initiative to wipe out littering in the state in the 1980s and 90s, which led to a reduction in motorway littering of around 70%.

Figures from Clean Up Britain have found nearly 48% of people admit to littering. Last month, the campaign group started a initiative to drive out littering using behavioural science to try and influence people not to litter.

The Marine Conservation Society also recently helped remove litter from Britain’s beaches as part of the Big Beach Clean-up in May, with the campaigners working with staff from Marks and Spencer to remove more than 180,000 pieces of litter from UK beaches and waterways.

Matt Field


behaviour change | litter | veolia | waste management


Waste & resource management

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