Tracking Litter In The Streets - Facility Executive Magazine

Keep Britain Tidy has released its findings on what type of fast food litter was most likely to be found strewn about the streets of the country.
Keep Britain Tidy has released its findings on what type of fast food litter was most likely to be found strewn about the streets of the country.

Tracking Litter In The Streets

Tracking Litter In The Streets - Facility Executive Magazine

Keep Britain Tidy, an effort of ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns) in the UK, has released its findings on what type of fast food litter (by store/brand/type) was most likely to be found strewn about the streets of the country. Campaigning directly to the public, Keep Britain Tidy works on many issues related to improving the state of the country’s streets and reducing anti-social behavior in communities. Beyond litter, the group addresses issues such as graffiti, neighborhood noise, and abandoned vehicles.

Most recently, Keep Britain Tidy surveyors spent two days observing fast food litter in 10 city centers and suburbs/out-of-town locations (Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton and London).

One finding was that McDonald’s burger wrappers and drinks cartons are more likely to be found littering those streets than any other fast food brand. Nationwide McDonald’s made up more than a quarter of all fast food litter (29%). Common items in that group were burger wrappers, condiment sachets, and plastic straws.

In second place, the local chippie or kebab shop: Keep Britain Tidy found a substantial amount of “unbranded” chip wrappings and packaging in all locations (21%). This included polystyrene chip trays and plastic forks.

In third place, Greggs, was found to have a high gutter share. The company’s pasty and pie wrappers made up 18% of all fast food litter.

Next in the round up was KFC (8%) and fifth place Subway (5%).

Call To Action

Earlier this week, Keep Britain Today delivered its branded litter survey to the chief executives of companies named. It is demanding that the fast food industry take more responsibility for what happens to fast food and packaging taken away from premises.

Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy chief executive, said:

“This is the very first time we have looked at which brands make up littered England. Of the 10 cities surveyed the same brands appeared again and again. We condemn litterers for dropping this fast food litter in the first place but also believe the results have pertinent messages for the fast food industry.

McDonald’s, the local chip shop, Greggs, KFC, and Subway need to do more to discourage littering by their customers. Fast food makes up a quarter of all litter found on our streets. We want fast food chains to play a more active role in delivering an anti-litter message at the point of sale.

We know from working with McDonald’s in the past that the company takes a responsible attitude to its communities by running local anti-litter campaigns. McDonald’s has anti-litter logos on packaging, provides litter bins and runs ‘litter patrols’. However, McDonald’s litter remains all too prevalent on our streets and we’d like the company to do more to tackle the problem.

We want all fast food chains to reduce unnecessary packaging and make it easier for customers to do the right thing.”

Keep Britain Tidy today wrote to fast food companies urging them to:

  • Reduce unnecessary packaging
  • Make “eating-in” a more attractive option by reducing prices for customers who stay on the premises
  • Encourage “eating-out” customers to use a bin once they’ve finished their meal
  • Increase signage in restaurants with anti-litter messages
  • Offer money-off vouchers or incentives to customers who return packaging
  • Put more bins at strategic points – not just directly outside their premises
  • Work with Keep Britain Tidy to tackle the problem

Brand Damage?
Academic research has been carried out by Dr Stuart Roper at Manchester Business School–The University of Manchester and Professor Cathy Parker at Manchester Metropolitan University. That research asserts that it reveals the damaging impact litter can have on a brand.

Professor Parker said: “There is clear evidence that seeing litter with a company’s brand on can negatively affect the public’s perception of that brand. There is, therefore, a good commercial reason why fast food operators should take more of an interest in what happens to their packaging once it leaves their premises.”

A Few More Facts

Keep Britain Tidy accepts that McDonald’s has done more than most fast food companies to tackle litter. Keep Britain Tidy is supportive of the company’s commitment to the environment but wants to see McDonald’s do more to tackle litter. Keep Britain Tidy has worked with McDonald’s in the past and is keen to work with the company again to improve England’s litter problem.

Keep Britain Tidy acknowledges that the National Federation of Fish Friers works hard to get chip shops to tackle litter. Keep Britain Tidy has linked up with the federation in the past and wants to work closer with them in the future.

A Voluntary Code of Practice for the fast food industry was launched in 2004 by DEFRA.


Litter is often a community problem, and the businesses that generate this waste should make an effort to reduce that litter. But where does personal responsibility come in? Those who are throwing those food wrappers in the street should also make an effort to find a waste receptacle.

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  1. In the UK we are not very good at recycling as in reality we make it to complicated and with many every day disposable goods we actually have no recycling solutions at all. Without shipping to third world countries for manual segregation our last remaining landfill sites would be over run within weeks.
    New cost effective solutions have to be found that not only cost less but actually produce a valuable and useful product.
    With the ever growing consumer led demands in recent years there are currently no recycling solutions for a massive list of everyday goods which actually becomes litter or waste!
    With LITTER GLUE we have created a very simple solution that for the 936 everyday items that there is no solution to can now be recycled in minutes into pathways, walls, bollards, garden furniture and many other useful products. With absolutely NO SEGREGATION they do not even have to be clean!! So simple even with poor DIY abilities a product could be formed.
    So what are these 936 items – well items such as
    Carrier bags
    Chocolate wrappers
    Fast food containers
    Plastic wrapped newspaper inserts
    Prepared food containers- even including remnants of food
    Dog waste
    Cat litter
    Cigarette ends and packets
    Chewing gum
    Cotton buds and other toiletries
    Expired bank cards
    Cheese wrapping
    Laminated plastics
    Food waste
    Metalised plastics
    Broken children’s toys
    Vinyl records
    Coat hangers

    And many more!
    Of course added to this in litter there are many items which could be recycled if they were in correct recycling bins but the good news is they can also be used in litter glue without ANY form of segregation.

    These can all be crushed mixed with litter glue and poured into either a mould used to repair pathways/pavements or create new ones. Within hours fully dried and can be painted or top coated with gravel- this is purely for cosmetic purposes.

    Job done and all at less cost than landfill

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