It was great to see Chippenham Town Council make a start on addressing the problem of litter with yesterday’s “Chipp Litter Pick”. However, we need to capitalise on the momentum from this, Clean for the Queen, and our monthly Community Clean Ups if we want to show that Chippenham is taking litter seriously. This means focusing on stopping litter from occurring in the first place. To do this, a united front is needed with government, schools, businesses, and individuals all working together to send the same message: Enough is enough!
The following measures are low in cost but require effort and engagement from everyone. While we’ve made progress on a few of these, we would like to see a full “litter-free ecosystem” so that everyone can enjoy a cleaner and safer town.
1. Raising awareness of the problem
- Local radio, television, and papers to run feature stories and inform residents of the problems caused by litter. Promote the idea that they are throwing away money on cleaning that could be spent elsewhere.
- Advise that littering carries an £80 on-the-spot fine. [Edited 2021: Now £150.]
- Banners on town bridges, and posters placed on bus shelters, lamp posts, and BT boxes.
Invite all schools to engage in a five-step plan to tackle the litter on their grounds and the surrounding paths. This can be done with infant, primary and senior schools, with the potential of awards or prizes given out (e.g. Cleanest School, Most Improved School).
- Discuss and analyse the problem with students: What problems do they think litter causes? Who do they think is responsible for it?
- Collect photos and information: Where is litter being found? What is the base level?
- Devise an action plan with input from the students: How can the problem be solved at that particular school? What interventions can be tested?
- Measure success: Do the interventions lead to a reduction in litter?
- Maintain success: Encourage students to keep areas litter free.
3. Encourage business participation to keep their premises clean
- Businesses to be issued with anti-litter posters and free clean up pack including a broom and portable ashtrays.
- Remind employees that there’s “No smoke without litter” and all cigarette butts should be disposed of properly.
- Remind businesses of their obligation to clean up to 100m from their premises. This should be done regularly throughout the day – not just one sweep at the end of the day.
- All businesses that give out items not consumed on their premises must brand their packaging so we can monitor where they end up.
- Promote reduce, reuse, recycle message especially with businesses. Encourage fewer plastic bags; packaging main culprits in Chippenham are Subway, Tesco, Greggs, Costa, McDonald’s, and Sainsbury’s.
4. Promote and improve our local “binfrastructure”
- Green footsteps to be painted on pavements to nudge towards anti-litter behaviour.
- Bins to be cleaned and, where possible, changed from black to brighter coloured refuse sacks.
- Dual-use stickers on bins to promote dog poo bags and general litter use.
- Residential bins to be used as extra bins with permission from householders and label saying permission has been given.
- Skips that are placed near shops/takeaways must be securely covered at night to stop litter being blown around; this could be a condition placed on the builders at the time they are granted permission to site the skip.
5. Encourage involvement throughout the community
- Weedy, overgrown walkways or uncared for “wastelands” encourage litter. Plant flowers
and tidy up to make an area look loved.
- Local groups like bowls, tennis, football clubs, etc. to be asked to take part to help clean up their playing areas. Create a leader board for different parts of Chippenham to instigate a competitive element, with the potential to win an award or prize.
Imagine one full month (or more) where, everywhere you turned, the message was crystal clear: Chippenham no longer tolerates litter. We have made a start … let’s keep going.