Even though many of us still imagine litter to be a problem restricted to urban areas the long hot summer we have enjoyed this year has brought more litter than ever to British beaches. It isn’t only the coast that is affected either as large, out of town retail parks are the main cause of all the litter on the country roads.
Bill Bryson is the President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and he recently appeared in a Panorama programme on the BBC about the litter problem in the UK. He said that litter was becoming the unfortunate default condition of far too much our countryside.
Bournemouth beaches reported being hard hit by littering from 70,000 daily visitors during the hot summer of 2013. 50 tonnes of marine litter was also landed by 130 fishing vessels in July 2013 in Devon and Cornwall as part of the Fishing for Litter South West project. These and similar reports all highlight the now ongoing battle with litter in costal areas and seaside resorts.
The most recent Local Environmental Quality Survey of England (LEQSE) by ‘Keep Britain tidy’ has also shown that rural roads are being increasingly affected by things like fast food litter. Other surveys and commentators have suggested that out of town retail parks have fuelled this trend.
With UK country and coastal areas seeing much more of the action in our war against litter many people are asking what more can be done to prevent any increase in these trends which are threatening our wildlife, and the environment as well as our enjoyment of these areas.
The Fishing for Litter South West project, local council and volunteer beach cleaning and litter picking can help to some extent. In out of town retail areas such as the Kempston Interchange Retail Park in Bedfordshire, and at the Pitsea Retail Park in Essex staff from fast food outlets have even organised their own litter picking patrols to try and limit the effect of discarded fast food packaging on the surrounding area.
Although many efforts to clean up after the littering are being taken it is now clear that changing the behaviour that leads to littering is a very complex task that requires a wide range of measures on many fronts.
Rather than a focusing just on efforts to encourage change in littering behaviour, many traders are now taking the longer view and are taking responsibility for lessening the environmental impact of the packaging they provide with their products. Biodegradable and compostable packaging at least provides them with one sure way of knowing that whatever the end consumer does with the packaging it will ultimately have very limited environmental impact.
John Haken of UK based specialist biodegradable and compostable food packaging suppliers WF Denny says:
“The UK’s coastline and countryside are not exempt from the same kind of littering behaviour that we perhaps expect to see more of in urban areas.This is a very complex problem and everyone needs to play their part in their own small way to bring about a big positive change.
The use of biodegradable and compostable packaging is one of the many ways in which our negative impact on the environment in the longer term can be reduced. The fact that this type of packaging is seeing a big rise in popularity now is an indication of a much greater environmental awareness in society. This is a really positive sign and it is one definite, responsible way in which companies can make sure that they’re doing all they can to help”.
For more information call 0161 927 4949 or visit http://www.wfdenny.co.uk