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London’s ‘tidy litterers’ targeted with new Hubbub campaign against plastic waste

‘Tidy litterers’ are in the sights of environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub for a new campaign, ‘For Fish’s Sake’ (#FFSLDN), which aims to reduce the amount of litter entering the UK’s river and marine systems.

London’s ‘tidy litterers’ with new Hubbub campaign against plastic waste
The campaign, launched last week (18 May), targets those that place their litter on walls, down storm drains or leave it carefully next to full bins in an attempt to be ‘tidy’, while doing nothing to alleviate the problem of waste entering our waterways.

Litter, such as plastic bottles, travel tickets, cigarette butts, and food packaging, that is not disposed of properly easily finds its way to the river and some 300 tonnes of rubbish has to be cleared from the Thames each year.

New research by Censuswide carried out in April shows that, out of 1,000 Londoners, more than half openly admit to forcing litter into a visibly overflowing bin, while 54 per cent also say they have seen people leaving litter next to a bin, with even more seeing drinks cans and containers left on walls.

Hubbub’s #FFSLDN campaign, supported by the Port of London Authority and backed by a range of organisations including the British Plastics Federation, St Katharine Docks and packaging association INCPEN, aims to remind Londoners of the impact of their littering habits on the environment through engaging initiatives such as voting bins in the run up to next month’s general election and ‘grate art’ to remind people of the importance of protecting the city’s waterways.

#FFSLDN calls on Londoners to:

  • Always put litter in a bin, nowhere else;
  • Pick up any litter seen near a bin; and
  • If a bin is full, find another or take the litter home.

It seems some gentle reminding is required for the 39 per cent of those, according to the same research, that admit to littering when they’re on their own, or the 55 per cent of under-35s who admit to the same, despite 92 per cent of those surveyed saying they thought littering was wrong.

City of rubbish

Speaking about the launch of the campaign, Gavin Ellis, Co-founder of Hubbub, said: “Our research shows that just over half of Londoners who admit to dropping litter do so accidently and 43 per cent of people said they do it when they can’t see a bin nearby. However, from Waterloo to Tower Bridge you’re never further than 40 metres from a bin.

“We’ve witnessed many commuters balancing their empty drinks containers on the side of London Bridge in the hope someone will clear up after them. These cups are blowing into the river and this type of behaviour is happening across the city.

“Many people don’t think of themselves as ‘someone who drops litter’ because they’re not throwing it on the floor, they’re carefully placing it somewhere. When close to the Thames there is a good chance this will end up in the river.”

London’s ‘tidy litterers’ with new Hubbub campaign against plastic waste
Among the initiatives being trialled by the campaign is a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ containing some of the items pulled from the Thames – from radios to rollerblades and a message in a bottle to poet Kate Tempest.

The amount of litter entering the Thames is increasing, says Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority, with material coming from all parts of the city.

Mortimer explained: “This new research found that seven in ten of people think that the Thames is too polluted for fish to survive, but there are actually 125 species living in this river that need protecting. Litter in both the river and the ocean is breaking down and being eaten by and harming birds, fish and other species.

“The typical city rubbish – small pieces of litter such as travel tickets, food wrappers, disposable crockery and cigarette butts – are a particular problem.  They are less likely to make it into a bin and once they’re in the environment, they’re harder to retrieve.”

Tough on litter, tough on the causes of litter

Hubbub has been channelling a significant amount of energy into anti-littering campaigns across the UK in the last year, fighting the blight on the nation’s streets costing the UK £850 million a year in street cleaning services.

London’s ‘tidy litterers’ with new Hubbub campaign against plastic waste
Last week (15 May), the charity unveiled its ‘Trashconverter Van’ where members of the public can exchange litter for food, flowers and hot drinks in the Forest of Dean as part of its #LoveYourForest anti-litter campaign.

In February 2016, the charity released the results of its Neat Streets campaign, the testing a number of innovative methods for reducing street litter, which suggested that over the campaign’s six-month timescale the amount of litter produced had been reduced by 25 per cent.

In April it launched the Square Mile Challenge, a partnership with businesses and local authorities in the City of London to increase the collection and recycling of coffee cups, following a similar #1MoreShot campaign in Manchester.

More information on Hubbub’s ‘For Fish’s Sake’ campaign can be found on the organisation’s website.

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