Resource Use

Four innovative ways to kick out litter

Sustainability campaign charity Hubbub launched its new Neat Streets website today (6 July), which will act as a sharing platform of global anti-litter campaigns. Here are some of our favourites on the site so far…

1 - Don’t Mess With Texas

The ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ campaign has been operating for 30 years to reduce litter in the American state, though the phrase has now been more widely appropriated as a statement of Texan identity.

Four innovative ways to kick out litterOne of the main ways it has attempted to reduce litter in recent years is through celebrity endorsements. Advertisements featuring the slogan and the likes of Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey and LeAnn Rimes and social media posts by celebrities including actress Eva Longoria (over 36,000 Instagram likes to date) mean that, according to a 2013 study, 98 per cent of the general population knew of the slogan, with a 34 per cent of visible litter recorded since 2009.

As part of the programme, Litter Force, a group of four superhero characters each with a different super power for reducing litter, encourage children to join them in the fight against litter and to ‘blast the trash’.

The Litter Force programme is a campaign targeted specifically at Texan school children to stop them from adopting littering behaviour when they’re older. According to the organisation, kids growing up with campaign are less likely to become litterers later in life.

2 - Hey Tosser!

A litter prevention campaign launched in 2014 in New South Wales (NSW) in Australia, the ‘Hey Tosser!’ campaign tells litterers that they’re being watched and encourages the community to report litterers.

New South Wales Environment Protection Authority  (EPA) gave councils a kit of various materials bearing the assertive slogan, including press adverts, posters, stickers and digital banners.

It also created an online portal and app to allow the public to report littering. Figures from the NSW EPA suggest that more than 80 reports of rubbish being thrown out of car windows are received daily, with 10,036 people downloading the app that simplifies reporting. Those reporting must be able to provide vehicle registration details and the location where the littering took place for a fine to be issued.

By midway through 2015, 1,779 motorists had been sent a fine – quadruple the number issued for the entire 2014 year.

3 - ALi Adopt-a-street Scheme – Aberdeenshire Environmental Forum

While not a scheme that will reduce acts of littering in the first place, the Aberdeenshire Litter Initiative (ALi) at least improves roads’ appearances, by calling for volunteers to sign up to ‘adopt’ a particular street or open space that they agree to keep litter-free.

Currently, 610 people have volunteered for the scheme, which is based on a North American model. Volunteers are invited to ‘do as much or as little as fits their lifestyle’.

Ali set up the programme to ‘recognise, support and encourage individuals who care enough about their local environment to be willing to do something practical about it’.

The Aberdeenshire Environmental Forum encourages the exchange of information about the environment and promotes the ALi scheme to reduce litter in the area.

4 - Gumdrop Bins – Gumdrop Ltd

The idea behind Gumdrop bins is to reduce the amount of chewing gum litter on the streets by providing a portable means of disposing of chewing gum waste.

Gumdrops are pink receptacles for disposing of chewed gum, which can be handed out to members of the public as a key ring. Used gum is placed inside the Gumdrop, which is then placed into a Gumdrop collection point. Once full, Gumdrops and their gum contents are recycled together to make new Gumdrops. 

Gumdrop Ltd is the first company to recycle chewing gum to make polymers for items such as wellington boots, stationery and mobile phone covers.

Hubbub hopes that website users will upload more projects to the website, resulting in a catalogue of initiatives that councils and organisations can try and then rate.

For more information on these and other projects, visit the Neat Streets website.