COLUMN BY MELANIE PALMER, CEO OF SOLIHULL BID, WHICH FEATURED IN THE SOLIHULL OBSERVER
Litter, rubbish, waste, tipping, and bins are the words that are haunting councils across the land, why are we so rubbish at rubbish?
It’s a perfect messy storm out there with many factors contributing to the shocking scenes of beaches, parks and now high streets covered with litter. Covid has meant an embracement for all things take away and disposable; single use plastic for sandwiches, pizzas and burgers and surgical nature masks, tossed away in a careless ‘live now, think later’ world.
Every year there is 30 million tons of litter dropped which is an increase of 500% since the 1960s when less disposable options and the lack of ‘al trashco dining’ kept your rubbish home alone.
It’s clear that the local environment has a part to play and the potential trash criminals’ association with that place. It seems you are unlikely to litter in your own street, but travel for hours to a beach and its gloves off, let’s just put it in a neat pile… and walk away. If you see people dropping litter you are likely to do the same, if you see an untidy, littered street then your one little wrapper won’t make any difference...
So where do we look for exemplars of how to get it right? Japan is leading the way, they stand out from the crowd with very few littering issues, they have strict enforceable laws on littering but more importantly their culture and ethos is one of recycling and taking litter home with you.
The disposable attitude in the UK needs to be tackled, we should set the example every time. My plea to you is either put waste into a bin or if that bin is full take it home with you. Placing it next to or near a bin on the floor just isn’t good enough, and dashing rubbish anywhere is just downright lazy. Keep Solihull tidy and stop winging, it’s the one thing you can be in control of.