Looking back, looking ahead

It was
great to have a mix of new and familiar faces turn up for yesterday’s Community
Clean Up at Donkey Field. The final count was 9 bags of general rubbish
and 9 bags of recycling, plus the standard mix of odd things: a headboard, a tire,
a flower pot … and a few bits and pieces that we’ve been informed come from
the nearby Sheldon School.

As usual, we took the recycling home to separate and count. Today’s tally ended up at 315 items: 17 glass
bottles, 146 plastic bottles, and 152 cans. When sorting through the recycling, it’s always incredible how many new
brands we add to the list. Who knew we
needed 182 types of alcoholic drinks, or 66 brands of bottled water?  

Yet
Chippenham is quite cosmopolitan, with a number drinks seeming to have an
international flavour; new ones added today include Birra Moretti, an Italian
lager, and Manzana Loca, a mix of cider and tequila. And then there are the old
faithfuls: energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull came in at 30 items and 19 items
respectively. Also topping the chart
were Coca-Cola and Lucozade at 35 and 27 items. On the own-brand front, Asda and Marks and Spencer’s made their mark on
the list for the first time, in addition to the usual number of Tesco’s,
Sainsbury’s, and Morrison’s branded products.

The overall
breakdown was:

Alcohol:
12%
Carbonated beverages: 22%
Energy drinks: 23%
Fruit juices: 9%
Milk products: 1%
Sports drinks: 10%
Water: 10%
Other: 2%
Unknown: 11%

All of this
underscores a serious point.  The brands
we record do not cause littering of course, but rather it is their consumers
who drink and drop.  Yet imagine if just
a small fraction of their marketing budget were spent on encouraging their
target demographic to behave responsibly.
At the very least, if their market research could be shared with those
of us working to prevent litter so effective interventions could be
designed. Until there is willingness by
these companies to acknowledge the role their products play in littering the
country, it is likely to remain an uphill battle to change attitudes and
behaviour.

All this
being said, there is also a glimmer of hope.
This was the third clean up we carried out at Donkey Field this year and
it found the least amount of recycling.
From a high of 533 items in January, to 403 in April, 315 is not a bad
way to end 2016. And although we’re not
planning on running an organised clean up until February, please keep looking
after your local patch—and keep an eye out for information about our planned
Love Chippenham campaign taking place in early 2017. Please get in touch if you would like more information or would like to participate.

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The morning started out beautiful (if rather cold), before turning wet (and staying cold).

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The Packham family regularly help keep Donkey Field look good.

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David and Gill found 4 bags of rubbish and recycling just in the car park.

An action shot of Matthew and Steven cleaning near the football grounds.

Craig and Mel get stuck into cleaning.

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The complete collection from Saturday’s clean up.

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