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Public anger over Government’s lack of action on Britain’s litter epidemic



 New research from the UK’s leading behaviour change charity, Hubbub, reveals British public anger about the increasing amount of litter in their local area. The British people are calling on the government to take more action to address the litter problem.

Thirty million tonnes of litter are collected from Britain’s streets every year with the clean up costing British taxpayers a staggering £1 billion.

The survey, conducted by Populus on behalf of Hubbub, highlighted people’s frustration at the Government’s inaction, on the day that results of the Neat Streets Campaign are presented to Government. The Neat Streets campaign has been trialling innovative new techniques to encourage people to dispose of their litter responsibly.

– 81% of Brits say that seeing litter on the streets in their local area makes them feel angry and frustrated.

– 90% say that littering is an issue nowadays not just in cities, but in towns and throughout the countryside.

– 73% think that not enough is being done to address the litter problem.

– 76% say that the Government needs to do more to address the amount of litter on our streets and in the countryside across the UK.

When asked what they would like to see more of in their area, the public were clear on what needs to happen next – which included raising awareness of the issues and creating community initiatives so people feel they have a part to play in addressing the problem:

The research shows that the public doesn’t feel that existing ways to prevent litter are working. Instead litter louts should be named and shamed and littering classified as anti-social behaviour.

– 72% think that fines for dropping litter are not enough to deter litter louts.

– 70% that if litter louts were named and shamed that would deter them from littering.

– 89% say that dropping litter should be viewed as anti social behaviour.

Hubbub, the behavior change charity addressing sustainability issues, launched Neat Streets to tackle the growing problem of litter on our streets. Launched in Westminster, Villiers Street (near Charing Cross station) in the heart of London, the area known to have the most rubbish on its streets, has been home to a series of interactive installations from ‘talking bins’ to ‘naked bin men’ to trial new ways of encouraging people not to litter.

Keep Britain Tidy, who conducted baseline research on Villiers Street ahead of the Neat Streets campaign, has been monitoring the impact of the creative initiatives:

– By October, the amount of litter counted on the street had dropped by 26% compared to May.

– The amount of chewing gum discarded decreased substantially in the months that Neat Streets focused on gum initiatives and then returned to normal levels in the following month, demonstrating the need for sustained activity.

– Cigarette littering decreased during the six months, with the biggest dip in September corresponding to the month of cigarette litter prevention activities, with 29% of correct disposals corresponding to people using the bright yellow voting bins.

– Behavioural observations suggest that rates of littering have decreased by 16% from before to during the campaign.

Following the success of Neat Streets Hubbub will now be rolling out the Neat Streets campaign to three new areas – including two towns and one rural location – in the UK.

Jeremy Paxman, Patron Clean Up Britain, and supporter of Neat Streets campaign, said: “It’s abundantly clear that the threat of being fined is simply not enough of a deterrent to people who drop litter. The Government needs to put litter higher on their agenda and actually take decisive action on the shocking state of Britain’s streets and countryside. Together – as part of a collaborative national campaign – we need to change the behaviour of people who litter, that’s the only sustainable solution to Britain’s chronic litter problem.”

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder of Hubbub said: “We believe Neat Streets has been a huge success in raising awareness of littering and finding creative solutions that make the public engage in their environment. Community is important as littering affects everybody – where we live, work and socialise.”

“People get very angry about litter and are open to new ways to keep our environments litter free and the Government needs to take action. We hope that the encouraging results from the Villiers Street will be replicated and our fresh, creative approach to behaviour change will encourage people to think again before they drop litter.”

We need to break the cycle – rubbish on the streets encourages others to drop litter and often people do it when they don’t think they will be caught:

– 82% think that having litter on the streets encourages other people to drop litter.

– 93% say that littering shows a lack of respect for the environment around us.

– 73% think that litter is more likely to happen when no-one else is around.

– However, people do not feel in a position to confront the litter offenders, 61% said that they would be afraid to confront people who drop litter.

– 44% say that they often end up clearing up other people’s litter.

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice President, Veolia UK and Ireland said “Getting the public to think twice before they litter is key to tackling this problem. Humour is a great way of changing people’s behaviours but unfortunately this is only one street in London and the problem is much bigger than this. We hope to expand this scheme across our UK street cleaning contracts so that littering becomes the exception, not the norm.”

To coincide with the report, Hubbub is launching a Litter Manifesto calling on government, business and local organisations, to take action to make local spaces cleaner, safer, and more inviting.

Putting a Lid on Litter – Five Point Manifesto

We need to work together to make sure that the areas in which we live and work are cleaner, safer, and more inviting.

Let’s all put litter in its place:

Government: Don’t loiter on litter. Create a strategy that has teeth. Show leadership by providing or stimulating funding. Engage with the signatories of the Litter Prevention Commitment to create a robust plan winning widespread support.

Businesses, NGO’s and Local Authorities: Move litter up the agenda. Act with a unified voice to push litter up the agenda with government and the public. Share bright ideas and support innovative, collaborative behaviour change schemes nationwide.

Local Organisations: Create new coalitions, take community action on litter.

Business Improvement Districts take a leadership role and share results so that successes can be replicated elsewhere.

Public: join the discussion and create debate – this is a serious issue that costs taxpayers more than £1billion per year. Help us tackle the issue, capture the imagination of the public, hold people to account, and promote pride in our local areas.

Everyone: Litter is in your hands, stop littering full stop. We are all litter bugs in one way shape or form, and things will only change if we change our behaviours. So start taking care of all your litter from chewing to cigarette butts, to free newspapers, create a home for your litter.

Current Manifesto supporters include: Clean Up Britain (CLUB) CIWM – Clean Britain, Keep Britain Tidy, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Marine Conservation Society

Beer and Pub Association, British Soft Drinks Association, British Plastics Federation, Industry Council for research on Packaging & the Environment (INCPEN), McDonald’s, Packaging Federation, Packaging and Film Association (PAFA), PlasticsEurope, PwC, Veolia, The Wrigley Company Ltd.

Trewin Restorick, CEO/Founder of Hubbub said: “Littering affects us all – making our local spaces dirtier, less welcoming, and encouraging anti-social behavior – and it’s up to all of us to take action to tackle it. Hubbub is seeking to create a fresh approach to fighting litter making it easier for government, businesses and local organisations to work effectively together.

“We have found the best new approaches from around the world and have launching Neat Streets with a series of interactive installations throughout the summer to engage the public, raise awareness of littering and ultimately to change people’s behaviour.”


Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations



green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions



auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.


The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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