Street cleansing costs UK taxpayers almost £1 billion per year in England alone, and that is just the monetary cost of litter; it also impacts upon community wellbeing and mental health, wildlife, local business, tourism, and the environment.
Furthermore, it encourages other anti-social behaviours.
Despite the best efforts of local councils, there are still many spots around Yorkshire (and further afield) where litter builds up – after all, 62% of people in England drop litter, although only 28% admit to it, and councils have a budget to work within.
However, it’s been found that 57% of people in England feel that litter is a problem in their area.
Is it an issue in your area?
If so and you’d like to take action as an individual, a community group or a business, we’ll outline how litter impacts local businesses, how to organise a litter pick, and how to source litter picking equipment in this blog post.
Litter and local business
A study called The Big Litter Inquiry by Keep Britain Tidy found that litter can have a huge impact on local business, as people are less inclined to spend time in an area that is littered.
In fact, they found that litter could represent a 2% drop in a company’s turnover. This figure would no doubt be even larger if you rely on tourism directly.
There’s also the issue of packaging – if yours is dropped, it can have a negative impact on your brand.
Of those surveyed by Keep Britain Tidy, 72% thought the Government should do more about litter; however, 82% thought businesses should do more.
Could your business help?
Organising a community litter pick could help your business. It would also be an excellent thing to get involved in for your corporate social responsibility – and it would look great on your website and social media!
How to organise a litter pick
We wrote a whole blog post on organising a local litter pick but we’ll include the main points here:
- Decide on a spot to litter pick and check to see if there’s already a local group you could join. If there’s no group to join, then follow the next steps.
- Get permission from the landowner.
- Gather your equipment (see below).
- Choose a date and rally your volunteers.
- Carry out a risk assessment.
- Make a plan for what happens next regarding the waste you collect.
- Buy insurance.
- Brief your team.
- Get litter picking!
Where to source equipment
The main issue that most individuals, community groups and businesses come across when wishing to litter pick is sourcing the equipment.
By equipment, we mean items such as:
- Litter pickers
- Hi-vis jackets/tabards
Most local councils are happy to support local litter picks and will provide the equipment for you to do so.
The links below will take you to more information about the support and equipment you can get in your local area.
- Litter Free Leeds is a team of volunteers you can join if you live in Leeds. The website is here and the Facebook group is here.
If you know of other litter picking groups in Yorkshire, please tell us in the comments and we’ll add them to the above list.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated in 2021 to include up-to-date information.