Parliamentary Litter Inquiry

A few weeks ago, I found myself watching a broadcast of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Litter, held on 6 January 2015. As someone who has recently become an anti-litter evangelist, I found it fascinating to listen to the assembled experts. There were representatives from businesses such as the tobacco industry (cigarette butts are the most …

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A Riverside Rubbish Walk

It was a beautiful day in Chippenham today.  A cloudless blue sky, sun, and the weather feeling a bit warmer than it has done lately made it seem like the perfect time to take a walk along the river.  This was intended to be a short walk after yesterday, and in terms of distance it …

Keep ReadingA Riverside Rubbish Walk

On (and off) the beaten track

Today’s rubbish walk was along another section of Malmesbury Road, but we also ventured on to a few side paths.  Despite cleaning this area on a monthly basis, we still found enough general rubbish to fill two bags, and the recyclable tally was up to 12 glass bottles, 26 plastic bottles, and 34 cans.  The …

Keep ReadingOn (and off) the beaten track

In Praise of Litter Crusaders

Once you become aware of how big the litter problem is in the UK, you start to notice it everywhere.  Along motorways, where it has been chucked out of cars.  Along a community’s streets, where careless individuals drop food wrappers and beverage containers.  Along footpaths, rivers, canals, and other beauty spots where people seemingly can’t …

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Malmesbury Musings

Yesterday’s rubbish walk was along a small portion of Malmesbury Road, an area that we clean on a regular basis. We cut the walk short due to high winds, but we still managed to collect 9 glass bottles, 39 cans, and 21 plastic bottles, as well as one bag of general rubbish. We have started keeping track of the most littered brand we find – check back in at the end of the month for the list of shame.

There are many reasons that rubbish ends up along this stretch of road:

Food: A large Morrison’s is at one end of Malmesbury Road and it is bookended on the other by a Tesco, a new Sainsbury’s, and the town centre itself with a number of takeaways. There are plenty of places for people to stock up on food to eat on the go. The packaging is often discarded along the way.

High traffic: The pavement along Malmesbury Road is a main pedestrian artery into the town. With the Chippenham Railway Station at one end and a number of local schools in the middle, all of this adds to the number of people out and about and potentially littering. Finally, there is the literal traffic – the large number of vehicles using Malmesbury Road itself. As a result of this, some of the rubbish we find tends to be parts of cars or items chucked out of car windows (like the lorry mirror (?) pictured).

Cut throughs and connections: The City of Chicago website comments that “People usually litter outside their own neighborhood where their trash becomes someone else’s problem.” Malmesbury Road is one such road that connects residential areas. We have noticed a similar trend of littering on streets that are used as shortcuts or cut throughs, such as East Yewstock Crescent and Hardenhuish Avenue.

No bins: Despite all of these reasons, bins along this route are practically non-existent. While there are quite a few well maintained bins in John Coles Park, bins between Tesco and Morrison’s can be counted on one hand.

What’s in a name?

Why the name “Rubbish Walks”? First, it’s not just going on a walk, it’s a walk with a purpose – to clean up communities one piece of rubbish at a time. Second, all of us can play our part in making sure rubbish “walks” off our streets and into bins and bags where it belongs. …

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Just Do It

Do you want to be a rubbish walker?

Just imagine how much cleaner our communities would be if people spent one hour a week keeping their patch tidy.  Don’t have an hour?  Just try thirty minutes.  Or ten.  Or five.  Just collecting the stray rubbish from your street can make a huge difference, and it sends the message that littering is not tolerated.

Grab a spouse, a friend, a child, a neighbour and, to quote Nike, JUST DO IT.  There is no need for formal organisation, no official membership, no set times or dates.  All that is needed are a few bags, a pair of gloves and/or a litter picker, and a positive attitude. 

It only takes a few thoughtless people to make the mess caused by littering.  A few people who care about their community can make it better.