New report highlights Litter in Lockdown

Last week CPRE launched its 'Litter in Lockdown' report, which used litter surveying, testimony from local authority officers and the CPRE network, a new YouGov poll commissioned by CPRE and a comprehensive review of media articles to analyse trends in litter and waste during the coronavirus outbreak.  The most significant findings were:

  • a rise in PPE litter
  • more 'domestic' fly tipping
  • where people went, litter followed, including the outdoor spaces that many of us were enjoying afresh
  • people were more likely to drop litter in those areas that were less cared for and already had significant amounts of litter, in other words, ‘litter breeds litter’

Along with these concerns, CPRE highlighted crucial steps in tackling the wholly avoidable problem of littering calling for the Government to:

  • commit to a comprehensive Deposit Return Scheme, involving glass, plastics and metal drinks
    containers of all sizes, by the end of 2023, to reduce littering of these items
  • introduce a full Extended Producer Responsibility scheme by the end of 2023, to ensure
    producers bear the cost of cleaning up when their items are littered
  • use a combination of taxes and charges to incentivise a reduction in single use items and
    packaging right across the supply chain
  • promote the benefits of re-usable masks wherever possible, emphasising their safety, and
    encourage people to dispose of any single-use masks responsibly when these are used
  • support the promotion of the Countryside Code, with its clear anti-littering guidance, through
    online advertising and engagement with schools
  • provide renewed commitment to the aims of the government’s 2017 Litter Strategy for different
    local groups, local authorities, Highways England and businesses to reduce litter through
    cooperation and collaboration

Chief Executive Officer Crispin Truman commented:

‘Litter is a completely avoidable blight that currently scars our countryside.  As more people than ever before venture into their local green space or countryside next door, it's crucial that the government redoubles efforts to tackle litter and stops it pilling up in our beautiful countryside.

‘That’s why ministers must follow through on pledges to tackle the scourge of litter.  By investing in whole system solutions to address litter, including a fully inclusive Deposit Return Scheme, we can deal with the long-lasting problem once and for all.

‘That means no more delays on a fully inclusive Deposit Return Scheme, which should be introduced by 2023 at the latest.  Hugely successful in other European countries, these schemes are proven to help drive unprecedented recycling rates and ensure thousands of tonnes of litter don’t end up in the countryside.  We need a waste system that is responsive to changes in behavior – our current system has been failing for a long time, the pandemic simply put a spotlight on the waste crisis and it’s high time ministers stepped in'.