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Half of young people admit to dumping litter at the beach

As new research reveals that almost half (42%) of young people aged 18-24 admit to leaving litter after visiting the beach, we are responding with a new project to tackle rubbish dumping, which is being piloted at six key holiday destinations across the country, thanks to support from The Coca-Cola Foundation.

The survey, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Keep Britain Tidy, showed that overall almost one in five people admit to leaving rubbish behind at the beach, with a whopping 42% of 18 to 24-year-olds admitting to leaving litter behind after a visit to the beach.

We also discovered that the primary driver leading people to dump their rubbish at the beach was the fact that litter and rubbish was already present. Almost nine out of every ten instances of littering observed during the research occurred next to bins, particularly when they were full and other people had started placing rubbish around the bin.

The behaviour change initiative aims to address beach littering by placing colourful graphics and engaging messaging around bins, with a clear call to action - even if bins are full, take your rubbish home or find another bin. 

“We need people to understand that their behaviour goes beyond simply making the beach look untidy. 80% of marine litter comes from the land and, by leaving rubbish on the beach, even next to bins, thoughtless visitors become part of the problem, as tides, winds and seagulls can all spread litter into our oceans.

Given that many people feel it is ok to drop litter if other rubbish is already present at the beach, we are delighted to be supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation to tackle this issue head-on. 

There is no excuse for leaving litter behind at our beaches. If we cannot take care of them we don’t deserve them.”

-Keep Britain Tidy CEO, Allison Ogden-Newton


Earlier this year The Coca-Cola Company launched its global strategy, World Without Waste, with a commitment to recycle a bottle or can for every one that it sells by 2030. In the UK 100% of Coca-Cola’s bottles are already recyclable, and it has a goal to double the amount of recycled plastic packaging from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

“We have an ambition to collect all our packaging so that more is recycled and none ends up as litter, and as part of our strategy we are supporting partners in anti-litter initiatives, promoting recycling and encouraging behaviour change.

We hope this project will give a nudge to beach-goers to think twice before leaving their rubbish behind, so that our beaches are left clean for everyone to enjoy.” 

- Liz Lowe, Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain


Results of the pilot will be shared in the autumn.

This bank holiday weekend, our LOVEmyBEACH campaign will also be encouraging visitors to the coast to #binit4beaches by:

  • Always removing their rubbish from the beach;
  • If the first bin they come across is full, look for another or even better, take it home and recycle it! Litter left beside the bin can easily be blown into the sea.

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