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In this series of blogs, we’re going to look at rubbish. From the good, to the bad and downright ugly, we’ll be looking at everything you ever wanted to know, from A right down to Z.
It seems like every day there’s an anti-litter campaign being launched somewhere. Whether it involves going into schools to educate the next generation about the problem, or snooping through people’s bins to catch those who flout the rules on rubbish, every local authority has its own approach.
Let’s look at some of the most successful anti-litter campaigns...
Ballot Bins, The Hubbub Foundation, Edinburgh and London
Hubbub installed bins with double slots. The bins asked people to vote on light-hearted questions like ‘Batman or Superman?’ and people were asked to put their litter in their chosen slot to ‘vote.’
In Edinburgh, the campaign was a big success. Four out of five people knew it was related to litter and 90% of business owners and workers were aware of the campaign.
In London, there were some amazing results on one very busy street:
Cigarette litter reduced by 18%
The concept of ‘voting-by-bin’ went viral
People in other areas asked if they could have ballot bins
The key to the campaign’s success was simple; it made it fun to use bins!
Don’t Mess with Texas, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas, USA
This campaign was launched back in 1985 mainly to prevent litter. It has since been endorsed by a number of celebrities including Meat Loaf!
The campaign has been successful in reducing litter. There’s 34% less roadside litter and almost everyone in Texas is familiar with the campaign’s slogan.
The secret to its success is that it connected with local people and the pride they feel about where they live. If the people feel invested in it, they’ll take action to keep Texas clean.
Love Essex, Cleaner Essex Group, Essex
Clearing up litter in Essex costs an eyewatering £17 million per year. The campaign was set up with a focus on preventing litter so money could be spent on essential services instead.
All of the district and borough councils in Essex backed the campaign, along with McDonald’s, KFC, Dominos, and 300 other local businesses. The Highways Agency and Keep Britain Tidy have also shown their support.
The campaign combined education and awareness with enforcement. Messages about the fines that would be handed out to people dropping litter adorned posters, buses, and fast food packaging, as well as appearing on social media.
As part of the campaign, local councils and businesses also joined forces and held litter picks. As a result, there was a 41% reduction in litter by the campaign’s third year.
The key to the campaign strategy was getting everyone on board. With so many eagle eyes around, it became increasingly hard for litter bugs to drop rubbish.
Bin it for Good, Birmingham City Council and Keep Britain Tidy, Birmingham
This campaign was part of a three-month long scheme to keep the city’s streets clean while raising money for charity. Litter bins were turned into charity collection tins of sorts; the more litter in the bin, the more money went to local charities.
Birmingham was one of seven areas that took part and the results speak for themselves:
8.9% more waste was put in the charity bins
There was 30% less litter in the streets with charity bins
The success of this campaign boiled down to the fact that most people want to do the right thing, and if they think they’re doing two good deeds in one, they’ll find it easier to do.
Flingin’s Mingin,’ Zero Waste Scotland and the Transport Litter Group, Scotland
This was a campaign that was held for a week back in 2013. It was aimed at discouraging people from throwing rubbish from their vehicles. The campaign’s message was that people should take their rubbish home.
The campaign used posters, social media, press events, and more to spread its message and it had support from ScotRail, Transport Scotland, McDonald’s, local authorities and local businesses.
The main focus was on litter prevention, though there were also litter picks held as part of the campaign. During the week of the campaign, 400 bags of litter were collected.
The campaign instantly connected with people because it used language that people were familiar with, and in that way, it also seemed more down to earth than a usual public information campaign.