#LitterWatch2017: Week 12

What a difference a week makes! Last week when I recorded
the litter the weather was windy and rainy and just downright miserable. This week? Spring has definitely arrived and
it was wonderful to enjoy blue skies and sunshine.

Not-so-wonderful is the fact that the litter hasn’t
changed much in its time outside. We are just about at the end of the first
quarter of the year, and despite the variety of weather that has been thrown at
it, much of the rubbish is practically unchanged since 1st January. Here’s
a closer look at it, from left to right:

  • Plastic
    Water Bottle
    : A little bit dented from the board falling on it in high
    winds, but otherwise in good shape.
  • Sandwich
    I believe this coated paper has shrunk a little in the constant
    cycle of getting wet then drying, but otherwise it looks like it can still be
    used to wrap up a sub.
  • Napkin:
    This is one bit of rubbish that did disappear, but only because it was making a
    bigger mess. The napkin last almost eight weeks, and had been shredded into
    smaller pieces that wouldn’t stay on the board.
  • Fry
    This piece of cardboard has faded considerably since it’s been
    outside and is a little raggedy at the edges, but otherwise is holding strong.
  • Coffee
    These ended up being taken apart and nailed on separately as the
    swelling of the cardboard coffee cup in the rain meant the lid didn’t stay on.
    This shows how easily one piece of litter can become two. Both items show a
    little damage from when the board fell over, and the cardboard of the cup is
    fading a little, but overall they’re still in good condition. [SIDE NOTE: If
    you enjoy a hot beverage when out and about, please consider switching to a
    re-usable cup rather than relying on a disposable one. Those by eCoffee are
    made from sustainable bamboo, or the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew have some lovely
    ceramic mugs. Whichever you choose, you’ll know that you’re not contributing to
    the 2.5 billion cups that go to waste each year in the UK alone.]
  • Crisp
    This piece of rubbish has probably shown the biggest change in
    terms of fading, but the bag itself is still absolutely fine.
  • Cigarette
    Carton (with and without cellophane):
    The carton left in its cellophane
    wrapper has fared better; although the package is deforming due to moisture, it
    has stayed together and just exhibits a little fading.  The other has sprung apart at the seams, but
    shows no sign of completely falling apart.
  • Tobacco
    No change.
  • Cigarettes:
    Two of the cigarettes got knocked off the board when it toppled, but the others
    have stayed on. The paper part is slowly disintegrating, but the butts
    themselves—the part that is actually discarded—look unchanged.
  • Carrier
    No change.
  • Drinks
    Cup and Lid:
    Like the Costa cup, this cup and lid ended up being nailed on separately
    as they would no longer fit together. Also like the Costa cup, there is some
    denting due to the toppled board crushing it, but otherwise no major damage.
  • Balloons:
    The orange balloon was never inflated and it looks the exact same as when it
    was originally nailed to the board. The yellow balloon was nailed up partially
    inflated to mimic a real balloon release situation and it is exhibiting some changes.  The balloon material is thinner due to the
    inflation and is starting to shred as a result of exposure. It becomes very
    easy to imagine how dangerous this can be to wildlife as it breaks apart into
    smaller bitesize pieces.
  • Receipt:
    Although most of the text has faded, the receipt itself is in good shape. Like
    the sandwich wrapper above, it is made out of coated paper and it is proving
    surprisingly resilient to the elements.
  • “Biodegradable”
    This white square is actually a dove balloon that is sold on eBay
    as being biodegradable and perfectly safe for release at weddings and special
    events. So far it shows absolutely no sign of breaking down or changing in any
  • Aluminium
    Dented from the board landing on it, but no other changes.
  • Sweet
    The red colouration has faded from the strip on the top of the
    package, but otherwise no change.
  • Paper
    Takeaway Container:
    Surprisingly there are no real changes to this
    container. I expected it to lose its shape or start breaking into pieces as the
    material falls somewhere between paper and cardboard, but it’s doing fine.
  • Polystyrene
    Like many items, this piece was damaged during the winter storms
    that knocked the board over a few times. So it does have a crack in it, but otherwise
    looks new.
  • Lucozade Bottle:
    No changes. This didn’t even get dented when the board fell, and based on the
    number of these bottles I see along the roadways, I am starting to think they’re
  • Sandwich
    This has warped in the rain and the red part of the packaging
    faded, but otherwise it’s still very clearly a sandwich carton.
  • Glass
    No changes.

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