Monday, 25 March 2013

Charity unveils West Midlands results from its biggest litter count yet

The charity Keep Britain Tidy today released the results from its bigger litter count yet.

And because so many volunteers participated, it was able to release specific results for the West Midlands too.

For the first time, the charity invited volunteers to join its surveying staff across the UK. More than 500 people went out on to the country’s streets, allowing Keep Britain Tidy to record more than 37,000 items of rubbish. It’s a data sample almost more than ten times larger than litter counts in previous years.

In the West Midlands, 63 people signed up to count more than 4,050 pieces of litter – on the street, in parks or beside rivers and canals.

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Phil Barton said: “This survey provides us with a snapshot of what people have littered in communities across the country. It also gives more than 4,050 reasons in the West Midlands alone why we all need to do more to make littering socially unacceptable – to reduce the environmental, social and financial costs of this national problem.”

Mr Barton said while littering is a personal choice that needs to be changed, Government, charities and companies all have important roles in convincing people to make the right choice.

The most littered brand in the West Midlands was Cadbury, followed by Coke, Walkers and Mars. McDonald’s, Imperial Tobacco, Nestlé, Haribo, Fosters and Carling rounded out the top ten.

More than 340 pieces of Cadbury rubbish were counted, meaning it came top of the West Midlands list with 8% of the total recorded litter.

Coke was the most littered brand across the country, followed by Cadbury, Walkers, McDonald’s and Mars. Complete results can be seen at

“These results should be a wake-up call that we all need to do more to love where we live,” Mr Barton continued. “Litter is not just an environmental problem. It affects perceptions of safety and costs government nearly a billion pounds a year to clean up.

“Everyone has a role to play, including everyone who buys these products. When you buy a bottle of pop, a bag of crisp or a chocolate bar, you don’t just buy the contents you buy the packaging as well and it is your responsibility to dispose of it correctly.”

Mr Barton welcomed the fact that Keep Britain Tidy works with some of the companies whose products feature in this top ten and others, including Coke, McDonald’s, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Wrigley and Mondelēz International.

“Some companies and their employees play important roles in changing attitudes and behaviour towards litter through Love Where You Live. It’s an effort of Keep Britain Tidy that encourages civic pride—by helping more people and more companies make a real difference in communities.”

Mr Barton noted more will need to be done: “As Government cuts put pressure on local authority services, and impact on their efforts to get litterers to dispose of things correctly, England could see more litter in more places. That can’t happen. It’s time for more responsible companies to help more people love more places, by joining efforts to convince their consumers to do the right thing.”

He also thanked the hundreds of volunteers – from community groups to school children – who gave up half an hour of their time to support Keep Britain Tidy’s survey.

“We are very grateful to the many volunteers who took time to give us a better idea of what is being littered in England. The strong response shows people do love where they live and want much more to be done to clean up our country.”

In previous years, the count was conducted by Keep Britain Tidy staff, looking purely at town and city centres. This resulted in fast food being the most-littered item by an often-significant margin.

Inviting volunteers to survey more diverse areas resulted in a broader range of most-littered items. The count is not scientific and has always been a snapshot of surveyed areas.

“With much more data this year, one thing is clear. Whether you use, sell or make something, we call do more to ensure it is disposed of correctly,” Mr Barton concluded.

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