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

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 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.”

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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