High-Tech Litter Picking?

Until very recently, my day job involved investigating how technology could encourage people to behave in a pro-environmental manner.  As a result, I am always thinking about ways modern technology can be used to make things easier, more effective and/or efficient, or help make a more positive impact on the environment than current methods. Litter picking or going on a rubbish walk seemed to be a prime candidate for a technological make over!

We are currently working with a student at the University of Bristol to come up with a prototype litter recording system to better record what is found and where. What good will this do? We hope that such a system will allow us to start building up a better picture of things such as:

  • What areas are more commonly littered? For example, if schools are found to be litter hotspots (and they certainly seem to be in Chippenham), perhaps a better anti-litter educational programme is in order.
  • What is actually being littered? If a high proportion of what is found tends to be recyclables, maybe Councils need to seriously consider investing in bins for recycling on the go or the Government needs to introduce a bottle deposit.
  • What brands to target for campaigning?  Anyone who has picked up rubbish can probably reel off a litany of the most littered brands. This help would provide the evidence in terms of quantity and location.  I do think brands have a role to play in anti-litter efforts, and I will be writing more about that in a future blog post.

We will be keeping you posted as things develop.  In the meantime, mark your calendars for 21st March.  It’s the first day of Spring and time to spring into action with Keep Britain Tidy’s Community Clear Up.  We at Rubbish Walks want to do something for this event, so keep watching this space for more information.


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