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The UK Litter Problem  
User currently offlineyodobashi From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2007, 232 posts, RR: 3
Posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2861 times:

I have noticed recently, when travelling around our supposedly green and pleasant land, the increasing amounts of litter in the hedgerows and roadside verges.

I personally find is disgusting but, given the amount of discarded rubbish out there right now, I cannot believe is it just a small minority spoiling it for the rest of us? Do my fellow UK a.netters find it abhorent, does it not worry you, or, worse still, are you one of those who drops litter?

I'm sad to say it but there is a popular aviation photography spot half way down Rwy 23L at MAN which is often littered with empty cans and sandwich and crisp packets ....

Could the U.K. launch a similar scheme to that in the U.S. where certain companies as its employees sponser a section of highway and become responsible for its cleanliness. Would it work? Or would it be "pooh poohed" by the health and safety powers that be?

Local councils are so cash strapped right now that they're obviously going to do anything about it  

What are your thoughts on this, and what is the state of litter in your country?


"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page"
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7694 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2840 times:
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It certainly is abhorrent, and it is a serious problem. Having said that, in some respects we are ahead of the game in street cleanliness. You are much less likely to step in dog mess in a British town than in, say, France.

However, the problem you seem to be alluding to is one of extra-urban littering, and I certainly have noticed an increase. By its very nature, this is harder to police than urban littering, and also is probably affected to some extent by our ever-selling population.

What is the answer? I don't know. I can't see your sponsorship scheme gaining much ground, as it involves too much expense and hassle for people who are already taxed to the hilt and too busy for their own good.

Perhaps a more serious effort to get those doing community service, or even those serving prison sentences, out working the roadsides and country to help clear things up.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlinebongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2822 times:

When I've visited the US, I have on occasions seen the chain gang out and about picking up the litter off the side of the road. Meanwhile here in the UK we have nearly 100,000 people sitting in their comfy single cells watching their taxpayer provided televisions.
I'm not for one minute suggesting that we take our prisons down to the level of degradation and humiliation that can happen is some less enlightened US prisons, but we could at least send them out to pick up the litter.


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8443 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2800 times:
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Litter is a terrible problem here. I have seen rubbish dropped right next to bins, glass bottles thrown from moving vehicles on the freeway, car doors opened at red lights and cans, packets etc just dropped on the road next to the car.

Every year we have runaway fires caused by cigarettes being flicked from vehicles in rural areas, and a couple of years ago a British tourist was prosecuted after a discarded cigarette started a fire which killed a woman.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2788 times:

Quoting yodobashi (Thread starter):
Local councils are so cash strapped right now that they're obviously going to do anything about it

I have no idea why councils should be strapped for cash. What on Earth are they doing with it all? They must be eating it.

We should maybe have more of our community service guys on clean up duties.

The streets where I live don't have this problem but it is an issue along the sides of railways lines.


User currently offlineyodobashi From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2007, 232 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2705 times:

The fact that this thread has been active for some 8 hours yet has provoked only 2 responses from U.K. a.netters speak for itself - it would seem the vast majority care little enough about litter to comment?

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 1):
the problem you seem to be alluding to is one of extra-urban littering

.... indeed it is, however, we are slightly unfortunate with regards to urban litter too. We live on a thoroughfare between the town centre and the main school for the area, hence school children (if they can indeed be classed as children as most of them behave worse than animals!) drop litter on their way back to school after lunch.

Even calls to the school headmaster have been fruitless as he has denied any responsibility for the actions of his pupils outside the school gates, despite the fact that they wear the school uniform, thereby potentially bringing the school into disrepute.

Further conversations with the local council cleansing department revealed that the only litter warden in the whole county cannot fine school kids because they are too young to be fined - what a lot of nonsense!!!

The urban litter is not such a problem as these streets are cleaned, albeit halfheartedly, on a twice weekly basis.

The problem I allude to is this ....


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I took these pictures just a couple of hours ago within 2 miles of my home town .... disgusting!

The idea of using chain gangs to clean up is definitely a good one; another option might be to impose a tax on the suppliers of takeaway foods, canned, bottled and cartons of drink, sweets and crisps etc, and on supermarkets (whose bags seem to be forever gracing our hedgerows. This would be bi-functional in that the tax could be used to fund more clean up operations, as well as provoking suppliers into coming up with bio-degradable packaging?

Quoting Babybus (Reply 4):
I have no idea why councils should be strapped for cash. What on Earth are they doing with it all? They must be eating it.

I have no idea either, taxes seem to increase yet the services provided become less and less .... a hopeless situation for sure ....

  



"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page"
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13968 posts, RR: 63
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2677 times:

Quoting yodobashi (Reply 5):
The idea of using chain gangs to clean up is definitely a good one; another option might be to impose a tax on the suppliers of takeaway foods, canned, bottled and cartons of drink, sweets and crisps etc, and on supermarkets (whose bags seem to be forever gracing our hedgerows. This would be bi-functional in that the tax could be used to fund more clean up operations, as well as provoking suppliers into coming up with bio-degradable packaging?

This actually happened in Germany some years ago. The government, being fed up with cleaning up the empty disposable softdrink bottles and cans told the manufacturers that they either introduce a deposit / return system or disposable bottles and drink cans will be taxed so high that it would not be commercially feasible to sell them. Obviously mainly the traders moaned and cried, because now they were not finished after they sold the bottles, but thr law was pushed through. Drink cans have virtually disappeared from German supermarket shelves and the plastic bottles have a deposit of 15 to 25 cents on them, so that they will be returned to a shop. Also, any shop has to accept returned bottles, even if they were not bought there.
Similarly a recycling system was introduced for packaging materials, paper and glass.

Jan


User currently offlineVC10 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1407 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2665 times:

MD11

When I was a boy back in the 1950s    all bottles here in the UK had a refund value and as far as I remember most shops especially newsagents would take them. Now I cannot remember what the value of that refund was , but if you wanted to go to the cinema or swimming then you used to go and collect as many bottles as possible . If desperate then one would nip around the back of the newsagents shop and pick up a few from where he stored them   .
There was never empty bottles left around, but this came to end with plastic bottles and tin cans.

littlevc10


User currently offlinebongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2613 times:

Quoting VC10 (Reply 7):
MD11

When I was a boy back in the 1950s all bottles here in the UK had a refund value and as far as I remember most shops especially newsagents would take them. Now I cannot remember what the value of that refund was , but if you wanted to go to the cinema or swimming then you used to go and collect as many bottles as possible . If desperate then one would nip around the back of the newsagents shop and pick up a few from where he stored them .
There was never empty bottles left around, but this came to end with plastic bottles and tin cans.

littlevc10

Glass bottles still had a deposit on them in the 1970's. I can't remember exactly how much, but I remember we often used to find enough bottles to get a "free" full one. The deposit was probably about 1/6 of the cost of a full bottle.
All soft drink bottles and beer bottles had a deposit.

Now they all get thrown down as litter, or go in the recyling. Each day I can here a crashing noise as the pub next door dumps the empties into a skip. Yes they go for melting down, but its hardly energy efficent compared to washing and sterilising for re use is it.


User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7642 posts, RR: 36
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2569 times:

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 6):
This actually happened in Germany some years ago. The government, being fed up with cleaning up the empty disposable softdrink bottles and cans told the manufacturers that they either introduce a deposit / return system or disposable bottles and drink cans will be taxed so high that it would not be commercially feasible to sell them.

Many countries have deposit/refund systems on certain things like bottles and cans. Canada has had these as long since I was a kid, but people still throw them away regardless. However, there are lots of people that scavenge around looking for cans and bottles so they can make some money returning them to a recylcing depot.

The biggest problem with Germany's system when they first implemented it was that the can/bottle had to be returned to the same store you had purchased it from. So if I bought a can of pop at an Autobahn raststelle outside Frankfurt on my way to Dusseldorf, in order to give me any incentive not to throw it out I would have to return it to the Frankfurt raststelle (with receipt) I had purchased it from so I could get my pfand (deposit) back.



A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13968 posts, RR: 63
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2500 times:

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 9):
The biggest problem with Germany's system when they first implemented it was that the can/bottle had to be returned to the same store you had purchased it from. So if I bought a can of pop at an Autobahn raststelle outside Frankfurt on my way to Dusseldorf, in order to give me any incentive not to throw it out I would have to return it to the Frankfurt raststelle (with receipt) I had purchased it from so I could get my pfand (deposit) back.

Not anymore since a long time. The problem was fixed within a year.

While living in Ireland ten years ago I noticed a lot of rubbish dumped in the countryside. I inquired and found out that at this time in Ireland there existed no mandatory system for houseowners to register with a rubbish collection service (unlike in Germany, where you HAVE to join your community´s collection service and pay for it). In Ireland it was optional at this time and many people wanted to save the 150 Irish pounds a year and just dumped their household rubbish somewhere in the fields. I knew farmers, who dumped their rubbish in natural caves on their land, especially in the nature preserve Burren in County Clare, thereby polluting the groundwater.
Over the years, since I left the country, I noticed that it became cleaner. Maybe a mandatory system got introduced or attitude changed..

Jan


User currently offlineoly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6688 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2490 times:

Quoting Babybus (Reply 4):
I have no idea why councils should be strapped for cash

Investments gone wrong; paying over the odds for incompetence; jobs for the boys/girls; stupid jobs at lots of money a year... at least that's the impression I get from Private Eye.

Littering is because people don't care, or more likely, haven't been brought up to care, or there's some weird street cred in not conforming by just throwing stuff on the ground. There is the belief that there's someone out there who will pick up litter so it doesn't matter if you throw things on the ground.... someone else will sort it out. That is, of course, if it's even thought about. It's as applicable to hedgerows as to the base camp at Everest that's similarly blighted with stuff all the expeditions don't want to take home with them.

Outside my building there's a litter bin, a couple of metres from the door. After all the recent snow melted, where were all the fag ends that the smokers had discarded? Not in the bin. There was a carpet of them, in a semicircle in front of the building.

And you can't inform people of the error in their ways or you get a mouthful of abuse, kicked, knifed or some noxious substance thrown over you.



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11616 posts, RR: 60
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2488 times:

I believe that the majority of those people who litter in the UK are too stupid to find the concept of a deposit system appealing for small items of recyclable rubbish.

Certainly around where I live, not sure about others, the local council's policy on rubbish collection has caused a massive increase of fly tipping. Bin collections went from any number of bags once weekly to a single wheely bin per household (one grey for general waste, one brown for recycling and garden waste, left out alternate weeks) per week - plus bags every two weeks for washed and cleaned recyclables. That's fine for most people, there are four people in our household and most of our rubbish goes out in the bags every two weeks as we recycle a lot, but those families with six or more people struggle to fit two weeks worth of rubbish into just one bin. The council will not allow you to have two bins, and you are not allowed to leave out extra bags, so the result is bags of rubbish get hurled over walls and down railway embankments. Larger items can be collected by the council for a £40 fee (possibly more now), whilst I know from relatives living elsewhere that this is still a free service. The result, mattresses thrown over railway bridges and old washing machines dumped on the moors. Then, because the city dump was filling up, all commercial waste was turned away unless you bought a costly permit. Responsible contractors obviously bought it or sought other disposers, but others have taken to tipping their rubbish in the countryside on literally thousands of occasions, including asbestos and toxic materials. The council has admitted that it's actually costing it more to clean up the dumped rubbish that it would to just allow two bins, free household item collections, and free minor traders dumping at the tip, yet still they remain firm. I'm not as bothered at the waste of money as I am at the fact that this policy causes a huge amount of rubbish and pollution to be dumped everywhere, which is stupid.

Another annoying thing is the lack of rubbish bins in so many public places, especially transport hubs, due to 'security risks'. I'll stick my rubbish in a pocket if I can't find a bin, others just look for one, then drop it.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13968 posts, RR: 63
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2482 times:

Here the rubbish collection system varies depending on which county you live in. In my place I have a wheely bin for general rubbish, which costs something like 140 Euros for one year with 12 included emptyings a year . In fact they collect every two weeks, but only one collection per month is included in the yearly fee. Since each wheely bin is numbered, with the number allocated to the owner, extra emptyings will be charged at the end of the year. Additionally I have a large wheely bin with a dividing wall inside for paper / cardboard on one side and metals / plastics on the other (we don´t have to wash them, this is being done in the recycling plant). For this one there is a collection every two weeks and it is free. Additionally there is a bottle bank just down the road for glass. Since I have a garden, I dump vegetable cut-offs from cooking on my compost heap, which again reduces the amount of rubbish.

The next county 2 miles down the road provides a charged for wheely bin for general rubbish and one for compostables, but they will collect an unlimited number of bags full of metals / plastics and paper / cardboard once a month for free.

Jan


User currently offlineyodobashi From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2007, 232 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2450 times:

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 12):
I believe that the majority of those people who litter in the UK are too stupid to find the concept of a deposit system appealing for small items of recyclable rubbish

Dan, you are probably spot on in this statement, is it not therefore that we have to get tough and hit these people where it hurts (in their pockets!), given that trying to educate these morons sensibly is akin to King Canute in his attempts at stopping the waves?

Hence, excessively heavy fines handed out to those who litter (not just the silly flim flam GBP50 that applies now, if you're really unlucky), coupled with a small tax on take away foods and canned and bottled drinks which should then be used to clean up the problem, might be the only answer?



"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page"
User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7642 posts, RR: 36
Reply 15, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2362 times:

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 10):
Not anymore since a long time. The problem was fixed within a year.

That is correct that it hasn't been like that for quite some time which is why I stated "when it was first implemented".
However, some stores were still only taking bottles/cans if you had purchased them there (with receipt) in 2006 which was 2 years into the program.



A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlineAverageUser From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2318 times:

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 9):
Many countries have deposit/refund systems on certain things like bottles and cans. Canada has had these as long since I was a kid, but people still throw them away regardless. However, there are lots of people that scavenge around looking for cans and bottles so they can make some money returning them to a recylcing depot.

Virtually identical to what we've had in every respect. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage bottles and cans nowadays often go to the same returning machines as many a shopping centre has a licenced (state monopoly) liquor store. One exception to the principle is the German-owned Lidl, who takes "foreign" bottles ok as demanded by law, but will not refund any money.


User currently offlineba757gla From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 760 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2310 times:

Up here you still get the glass bottles . 20p deposit i think .

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