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One in four admit to 'carefully' littering

As we launch a brand new intervention developed by our Centre for Social Innovation to help local authorities tackle 'careful littering', our new research shows a quarter of people admit to 'carefully' littering.

In a survey carried out for Keep Britain Tidy by YouGov* more than one in four people (27%) admitted to ‘carefully’ littering: leaving packaging behind when eating or drinking ‘on the go’, leaving a can or coffee cup on a wall or ledge, or leaving rubbish at a train station or bus stop before boarding.


A series of posters and floor vinyls were developed to tackle the moments when people might carefully place litter on the ground or a surface before eventually walking away and leaving it, offering a gentle reminder that, whether it's ‘carefully’ placed or simply thrown on the floor, It’s Still Littering.

The launch follows a successful trial - made possible thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery - in town centres, bus stops and parks across the country, which saw a 20% reduction in litter, and in some areas the reduction was up to 57%.

Out of the 1,072 people polled by Keep Britain Tidy in the trial areas, nearly two thirds (63%) say the intervention will stop them from leaving litter behind again. Furthermore, eight in ten (88%) felt the intervention was tackling something which is an issue in their area and 91% said they would like to see the intervention put into other locations.

The intervention launched in Manchester - who are aiming to be the UK's first 'Tidy City' by 2020 - this week, ahead of a national roll-out to partner local authorities across the country.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said:

“We all need to care for the environment on our doorstep to reduce litter and, as a result, help tackle plastic pollution, which is doing so much damage to our marine environment.

“This intervention shows it is possible to make a huge difference to the amount of litter left behind by people. By highlighting that placing a coffee cup on a shop window sill is just as bad as mindlessly throwing litter on the ground is clearly making people think twice and to do it less.

“With more than one in four people admitting to ‘careful’ littering, this intervention is a simple and effective way to get the message across to them in the place and at the moment when they’re likely to do it.”


*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,143 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th - 13th July 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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