You may have seen that we’ve recently commented on the Highways England Funnel Bin project in the press.


We’ve had some passionate feedback – both supporting and challenging our comments. Thank you to everyone who has fed back – we appreciate the time you’ve taken to do so.


We thought we’d write about the bigger picture. It’s almost impossible to present important detail in a few minutes of radio show or a TV clip which has been thoroughly edited!


At Clean Up Britain we completely agree that more bins are generally a good thing when the right type of bins are put in the right places and emptied often enough so they don’t overflow.


That said, we’ve been up to our eyeballs in litter for a few years now and, unsurprisingly, it’s a complex topic for which the solutions are not straightforward.


Through our work and lobbying we’ve learnt that to properly address our growing litter problem a multi-pronged, long-term approach is needed. A combination of campaigning and communications, education, innovation, consistent enforcement and the right bins in the right places.


In addition, and crucially, we have to challenge the ‘social norm’ that it’s ok to litter. There’s loads of research on this particular topic. Warwick Business School did a nice summary:


‘One way social proof manifests itself is through observing the results of past behaviour. If there is a lot of litter on the ground it means that littering is a normal and accepted behaviour. Therefore, environments that are clean will nudge people to use bins, whereas environments that are unclean will nudge them to litter more’*


Our friend Peter Silverman of Clean Highways has been campaigning tirelessly to motivate Highways England who he asserts fail to comply with their statutory duty to keep their land clear of litter and refuse. Do have a look at his website to see the extent of his challenge and his work.


We also had a couple of practical concerns – so many people who buy food from services eat in transit, so extra bins aren’t necessarily capturing the rubbish that ultimately ends up on verges away from rest stops. Also, some of us are a pretty bad aim – which potentially means a litter problem in itself is created as people miss and the wind does its job.


Of course we support all positive action to address litter and agree that the problem lies largely with the person who drops it. However, a balance needs to be struck in public discussion on the topic and the bigger picture acknowledged. What we really need is long term plans, investment and commitment to address the fact that motorway verges the length and breadth of Britain are strewn with litter.


We promise to keep campaigning and lobbying for a holistic approach to address our litter problem. We’re a member of the government’s Litter Advisory Group and continue to meet with civil servants, parliamentarians and Ministers in an effort to help drive long-term change.


If you’re interested you can read the Litter Strategy for England here.


We’ve also embarked on a further program of work to practically address some of the needs we see as priority, which we hope to be able to go public on early next year. As we progress feel free to hold us to account, ask us questions, give us challenges. We will always listen and respond.


You can also help:


  • Simply pick up a piece of litter every day. When people see you doing it, stand proud and keep going. What you’re doing is helping create a new social norm. Research shows that if people see others picking up litter they are less likely to drop it themselves.
  • Make a fuss on social media if you can. Follow, share or retweet organisations who are on the same page. We are particular fans of the following Twitter accounts: @2minutebeachclean @zilchUK @cleanhighways @littergram
  • Contact us for a copy of our straightforward and fun KS2 educational resources developed with, and aimed at 8-11 year olds. Suitable for schools and community groups who want to spend an hour on the topic and inspire their kids to do the right thing.
  • Start a dialogue with the council. If litter starts to build up things will only get worse. As we’ve discussed, clean, well loved spaces are more likely to stay that way and the reverse is also true. Encouraging your local council to maintain clean spaces helps get the battle won. Littergram can help you with this.
  • Lobby the government. Contact us for some guidance which highlights what we feel are the key needs and issues not fully addressed in the Litter Strategy for England. Every voice helps. Copy us in so we can keep a track of who else is getting involved.


Check back on the website where we will keep our news updated and publish more details of how our supporters can help as time goes on.


Many thanks, the team at Clean Up Britain.


*Dur & Vollaard, 2013; Finnie, 1973; Geller, Witmer, & Tuso, 1977; Krauss, Freedman, & Whitcup, 1978; Reiter & Samfuel, 1980

Impacts of litter – a different way of looking at it…

We wanted to find a different to bring to life the negative impacts litter can have – something attention-grabbing, colourful and really informative. Something we hope you will want to look at, share and discuss.

So here it is! Designed by the superb illustrator Dan The Scribbler we’re finding it particularly useful in schools, the bigger the print out the better!

Please feel free to download (using the link below), print and share.

Litter Impacts Print Ready


We’re proud to officially support Starbucks who will be giving away 18,500 reusable cups on Earth Day – 22nd April 2017.

As our supporters will know, we strongly believe in long-term sustainable change. Every day millions of paper cups are used for just minutes before going straight to landfill or becoming litter. They’re manufactured from virgin paper pulp and less than 1% of the estimated 2.5 billion we get through every year are currently recycled.

The reusable cup giveaway is launched in the same week as a new awareness message on cup sleeves ‘Reuse to Reduce’ and accompanies the long-standing 25p discount offered to customers using a reusable cup – an incentive Starbucks has had in place for over a decade.

Testing different approaches to encourage and enable people to use reusable cups is an extremely positive step and we are proud to support efforts to promote reusable cups, and understand what prompts people to make the switch.

It won’t be easy – and will take time – but it’s great to see one of the world’s biggest coffee companies seeking solutions to this challenge.

Simon Redfern, vice president communications for Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa said;

“With today’s giveaway we are inviting our customers to try to create a new cup habit and help reduce our impact on the environment. We are continuing our efforts with industry partners to find a sustainable and safe long term solution.”

The reusable cups will be given away in participating stores across Great Britain. To find your nearest store in England, Scotland and Wales please visit: – available whilst stocks last.

Read more here.


‘Westminster . . . we have a problem.” I’m not referring to Brexit negotiations or the pressures on the NHS. It is something seemingly much more mundane, but corrosive to communities all over the country: the deluge of litter and fly-tipping.

When you’re walking or driving this week take extra notice of your surroundings — roadside verges, pavements, parks, high streets. Clean Up Britain’s theory is that people have become so used to seeinglitter and waste that they are now inured to it.

However, councils spend almost £1 billion a year cleaning it up — an appalling waste of taxpayers’ money that could be far better spent on social services, playgrounds and the like.

Today, for the first time, the government has published a national litter strategy. It doesn’t go far enough. Fines for drivers and passengers who throw litter out of vehicles should be at least £200 — the same amount that has recently been introduced for drivers caught using their mobile phones.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, the “litter minister”, needs to have the courage to do much more to tackle the problem. If he does he will be applauded by the vast majority of citizens who are sick of having their local communities environmentally desecrated. If not, he will deserve contempt.

The problem was well summed-up by Sean Lawson, director of environmental services at Rugby borough council, when giving evidence in parliament: “We often do not associate [litter] widely enough in terms of the impact it has on social cohesion and the economic vitality of areas. We think ‘It’s just litter’. We really do need to shift how we think about litter.” He’s absolutely right.

Apart from making our green and pleasant land a permanent eyesore, litter costs us a fortune to clean up, injures and kills animals that ingest it and discourages investment and tourism. There is a growing body of evidence that it causes depression.

The only sustainable answer to the problem is long-term behavioural change. Much like drink-driving, we need to make littering socially unacceptable. If the government’s promise to leave this land in a better environmental state than it inherited is to mean anything then its national litter strategy cannot turn out to be a damp squib.

Read the original article here.

A fantastic day as the National Litter Strategy is published!

We’re extremely pleased that the government’s first National Litter Strategy has been published.

Having been working on the National Litter Advisory Group we’re confident that the strategy will create a strong platform from which positive cultural changes can be made.

The strategy states:

‘Our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it found it. We are clear that we must act now to clean up the country and change our culture so that it is no longer acceptable to drop litter.’

There’s a lot to do – pleasingly the strategy is pretty comprehensive. You can read it here.

We’re particularly pleased that, amongst other commitments, the strategy promises to:

– Deliver a world class national anti‐littering campaign
– Review the case for increasing the fixed penalties for littering (and related offences)
– Regulate to allow English councils to fine the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown
– Facilitate strong and consistent anti‐litter education
– Empower local communities to channel their passion for their local environment into positive action
– Recognise and reward the contribution of volunteers to tackling litter
– Support the packaging industry in improving product and packaging design to deter littering
– Support national clear‐up days

And so the important first step is taken. We’re determined that the strategy will set the framework for fundamental change – change which will hugely benefit our communities, environment and wildlife and save us taxpayers money which will be better spent where really needed.

Watch this space for our updates as the work really begins.

In the meantime, if you want to take action yourself, see our blog post ‘How you can help’.

How you can help and be part of the litter solution


Driving change is only something we can do with the help and support of people like you. Any action you take to raise awareness and help tackle the issue is valuable. Who knows, you might even become a fully obsessed litter activist!

Below we’ve listed some ways you can help and get involved. Drop us a line and let us know how you get on – we’d love to hear from you.


Simply pick up a bit of litter every day*

When people see you doing it, stand proud and keep going. What you’re doing is helping to create a new social norm. Research shows that if people see others picking up litter they are less likely to drop it themselves (and may even start picking it up).


Make a stand on social media

Like us on Facebook and share posts which you feel strongly about.

Follow and share on Twitter: @cleanupbritain

Download Littergram and help us build a litter map of Britain. If you can, post to social media to drive even more awareness of the problem.


Talk about the issue with your friends, family, local school or community group

Raising awareness is a great way to start influencing change. Check out our hideous litter stats blog post which should give you plenty to discuss……!


 Join or start a local litter pick

There’s information and support at where you’ll find everything you need to know and connect with existing groups in your area.

Here you can also quickly learn about how to use a Litter Abatement Order to force local litter hotspots to be addressed. Really powerful stuff.


Start a dialogue with the council

If litter starts to build up things will only get worse. It’s well known that clean, well loved spaces are more likely to stay that way. The reverse is also true. Encouraging your local council to maintain clean spaces helps get the battle won. Littergram can help you with this! Don’t give up!


And if you’re really bonkers ask us about – a community project run by a member of the Clean Up Britain team….


Finally, keep checking back on the Clean Up Britain website as we’re currently developing some fun, easy-to-deliver content for use in schools.


*It goes without saying that your health and safety is top priority so be careful of anything sharp, particularly dirty or otherwise grim which might pose a hazard to your health.

Hideous litter stats tell a depressing story


Litter facts and stats – here’s some of the most insightful and depressing we’ve come across. Feel free to share!


In the UK, levels of litter have increased 500% in the last 50 years (1)

It costs the UK £1bn to clear litter EVERY YEAR (2). Money which could be spent on things to really benefit society. Think of the good it could do in our struggling NHS…

A poor-quality local environment can also have wider impacts on public health, including mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. On the flip side, living near good quality, accessible green space can improve mental and physical health (3).

Wildlife suffers the consequences, as do our pets. The RSPCA receive over 7,000 phone calls a year about animals who have eaten or been injured by litter (4). They think that the real number is much higher as most owners go straight to vets and many wild animals who suffer aren’t found.

Plastics, polystyrene cups and discarded packaging are choking river habitats but tend to be hidden at the bottom of the water so go unnoticed. Decomposing plastic can release toxic chemicals which are then passed through the food chain.

Rivers and storm drains carry inland litter out to sea. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean and 2,500 items of rubbish for every kilometre on our beaches (5).

An estimated eight million tonnes of plastic waste is added to the oceans every year and most plastic never biodegrades. It breaks down into smaller pieces known as micro-plastics. Large pieces can trap animals and smaller pieces are often eaten (6).

Litter thrown from cars causes accidents when people swerve to miss something flying towards their car, run over or hit something in the road. It’s estimated that the cost of accidents caused by litter in the UK is in the region of £8m (7).

Picking litter from the side of the road is a really dangerous job – people have been killed doing it. No-one would have to take the risk if other’s simply took their rubbish home. Some councils deem it too dangerous to clear verges on certain roads so it’s just left to build up.


Sources: 1 & 2: Local Government Association. 3: Ellway et al, 2009. 4: RSPCA. 5: Surfers Against Sewage. 6:  University of California. 7: Highways England.