The Brands Lying in a Gutter Near You...
13 January 2009
Keep Britain Tidy today names McDonald's as the most littered fast food brand in the country.
The company's burger wrappers and drinks cartons are more likely to be found strewn on our streets than any other fast food brand.
Keep Britain Tidy's branded litter survey serves up super-sized shame for some of the world's most recognised companies.
McDonald's was found to be the most common brand seen as litter in the snapshot survey of ten city centres and suburbs/out-of-town locations across England.
Nationwide McDonald's made up more than a quarter of all fast food litter (29%). Items common as litter were McDonald’s burger wrappers, condiment sachets and plastic straws.
In second place, the local chippie or kebab shop: Keep Britain Tidy found a huge amount of unbranded chip wrappings and packaging in all locations (21%). This included polystyrene chip trays and plastic forks.
In third place, Greggs, was found to have a high gutter share. The company’s pasty and pie wrappers made up 18% of all fast food litter.
There was a big drop to fourth place KFC (8%) and fifth place Subway (5%).
Keep Britain Tidy surveyors spent two days observing fast food litter in Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton and London.
National Gutter Share - the most littered fast food brands in England:
1/ McDonald’s - 29%
2/ Unbranded fish and chips/kebab - 21%
3/ Greggs -18%
4/ KFC - 8%
5/ Subway - 5% and other branded coffee 5% (joint place)
The findings come at the same time as university research reveals the damaging impact litter can have on a brand. Academics said today that fast food businesses could be suffering financially due to their association with litter.
Keep Britain Tidy today delivered its branded litter survey to the chief executives of companies named. It is demanding that the fast food industry take more responsibility for what happens to fast food and packaging taken away from premises.
Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy chief executive, said: "This is the very first time we have looked at which brands make up littered England. Of the ten cities surveyed the same brands appeared again and again.
"We condemn litterers for dropping this fast food litter in the first place but also believe the results have pertinent messages for the fast food industry.
"McDonald's, the local chip shop, Greggs, KFC and Subway need to do more to discourage littering by their customers.
"Fast food makes up a quarter of all litter found on our streets. We want fast food chains to play a more active role in delivering an anti-litter message at the point of sale.
"We know from working with McDonald's in the past that the company takes a responsible attitude to its communities by running local anti-litter campaigns.
"McDonald's has anti-litter logos on packaging, provides litter bins and runs litter patrols. However, McDonald's litter remains all too prevalent on our streets and we'd like the company to do more to tackle the problem.
"We want all fast food chains to reduce unnecessary packaging and make it easier for customers to do the right thing."
Keep Britain Tidy today wrote to fast food companies urging them to:
* Reduce unnecessary packaging
* Make eating-in a more attractive option by reducing prices for customers who stay on the premises
* Encourage eating-out customers to use a bin once they've finished their meal
* Increase signage in restaurants with anti-litter messages
* Offer money-off vouchers or incentives to customers who return packaging
* Put more bins at strategic points - not just directly outside their premises
* Work with Keep Britain Tidy to tackle the problem
Academic research has been carried out by Dr Stuart Roper at Manchester Business School - The University of Manchester and Professor Cathy Parker at Manchester Metropolitan University.
It reveals the damaging impact litter can have on a brand.
Professor Parker said: "There is clear evidence that seeing litter with a company's brand on can negatively affect the public's perception of that brand.
"There is, therefore, a good commercial reason why fast food operators should take more of an interest in what happens to their packaging once it leaves their premises."
Keep Britain Tidy is today launching a Dirty Pig campaign to target fast food litter in areas across the country.