Imagine someone littering – what type of person do you see? Maybe young, like a teenager out with their mates? Perhaps male? Or maybe a smoker dropping a cigarette butt or carton on to the ground? According to the “Rapid Evidence Review of Littering Behaviour and Anti-Litter Policies” published by Zero Waste Scotland, these groups are slightly more likely to litter than others. We at Rubbish Walks are not immune to such stereotypes and the type of litter we find tends to fit into this general pattern (crisp and sweet wrappers associated with children and teens, a wide variety of smoking paraphernalia).
However, such stereotypes crumbled when we witnessed a “littering incident” this morning while driving along Bristol Road. A woman, perhaps in her 30s or 40s, was running along the pavement – so far so normal, this area is popular with runners and walkers. But when she finished the bottle of water she had in her hand, she popped it over the wall into the ivy. Maybe she was going to come back for it when she finished her run—but I doubt it. This served to underscore the complex nature of littering—it’s not just the poor or specific types of people who do it.
The rubbish walk we went on today continued with the general theme of sports, cleaning up around the Chippenham Town Football Grounds and the Chippenham Sports Club. Perhaps unsurprisingly, energy drinks were very popular – 15 of the 72 plastic bottles found were Lucozade branded (that’s 20%!). We broke existing records for all of the recycling found, with 17 glass bottles, 60 cans, and 72 plastic bottles.
Not only that, but we found a number of unusual items dumped throughout the area: a cooking pot, a computer monitor, a football (still in good condition), a cricket ball, a trainer, a Wellington boot … the list could go on. All of this was found in a very small area, and we eventually had to make a retreat or we would probably still be there.
On the far left is a cooking pot, on the far right a computer monitor. Rubbish of all types in between.
Just because rubbish is under a hedge, it doesn’t mean it disappears!
It’s difficult to tell with the light, but this area was covered in litter, despite being within sight of a bin.
Several bags of general rubbish and four of recycling were collected today from a few hundred meters of path.
We don’t intend to put rubbish on a pedestal, but we decided to keep this cricket ball and glass … thing.