If you’re walking down a street in our nation’s capital, which type of branded litter do you think you’re most likely to see? A fast food wrapper? A sweet packet?
No, the answer, by some distance, is a cigarette packet.
In a dramatic change from last year’s survey results, cigarette packaging now makes up more than 50% of the litter on our capital’s streets, according to Keep Britain Tidy’s latest snapshot survey. In the last survey, in the City of London cigarette packaging accounted for only 14% of the branded litter. In this year’s survey, the figure has risen to 62% - an increase of 48%.
But Londoners are out of step with the rest of the country when it comes to which brands’ packaging they mindlessly throw on the floor.
In more than half of the places surveyed by Keep Britain Tidy – from Manchester to Rugby, and from Sheffield to Southend - it was fast food packaging that topped the list of branded litter.
Sweet-toothed litterers ensured that confectionery packaging topped the table in Gloucester and Carlisle, while some thirsty folk in Preston ensured that drinks-related litter was the most common in their hometown.
Litter is a massive problem – not just for the companies whose brands feature in our survey – and it costs us £858 million a year to clean up.
Do you Love Where You Live?
As part of the charity’s ongoing drive to make England a green and pleasant land in which to live, Keep Britain Tidy is now working with businesses, including McDonalds, Greggs, Wrigley and Imperial Tobacco, along with central and local government and the voluntary sector, on Love Where You Live.
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Phil Barton said: ‘Love Where You Live is a unique campaign. It is about everyone, from individuals and community groups to local authorities and multi-national corporations, working together to transform our country.
‘We need to make a change so that this country is no longer a place where it is, seemingly, acceptable for some to throw litter.
‘It is time for us to start taking some pride in our country and for everyone to love where they live. It is not someone else’s responsibility – it is everyone’s responsibility.’
‘Some companies are taking action, supported by Keep Britain Tidy, to tackle litter and are committed to educating their customers. It would be nice to see other fast food and confectionery manufacturers, along with cigarette manufacturers, take the issue as seriously and become involved in Love Where You Live.’
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: ‘Love Where You Live is about society taking collective responsibility for the litter that blights our communities and countryside and annoys so many of us.
Campaigns like this are so important to get the message out there that’s it’s not ok to just chuck your litter to the ground or out the car window. It’s a message that we need to keep repeating to make people who trash our countryside and towns think twice.’
Download the report
Download the full Branded Litter Study 2010/11 report
View last year's Branded Litter Study 2009/10 report