Keeping Your Neighbourhood Tidy

Keeping Your Neighbourhood Tidy

Keeping Your Neighbourhood Tidy


These days we might take a lot of things for granted, but living in a clean and safe neighbourhood shouldn’t be one of them.

Clean streets, parks and beaches make for healthy and happy communities, and if we go further and play our part by wasting less resources and recycling more, we can help the wider planet too.

Everyone has the right to live and work in a clean and safe environment, that they can be proud of, and it all starts with you.

Every single person has to share the responsibility of looking after where they live and the wider world in general.


The Keep Britain Tidy Neighbourhood Survey

Keep Britain Tidy is one of the main organisations that strive to promote the right to live in a safe and clean environment. They take the view that everyone has a part to play, be it local or central government, landowners, communities, businesses, or individual households. Working together can bring about positive change.

But litter does not just have environmental impacts, it has social and economic ones too. The Keep Britain Tidy survey identified the current state of Britain’s neighbourhoods. Here are some of the main issues it found:

Graffiti and fly-posting

These are often linked to antisocial behaviour, which can lead to other forms of crime, and gives out a message that an area is uncared for. This can lead to more crime, such as vandalism. The reverse is true if an area is clean, well maintained and cared for. The good news is, that while the survey looked at 9 regions across England, and graffiti hasn’t gotten any worse, there are some areas where it is very visible. This gives a poor impression of an area and there tends to be an increased fear of crime. As the problem is a local one, local authorities need to investigate what causes people to graffiti in these areas and come up with interventions to tackle it.



The survey noted the huge increase in fast food litter such as wrappers, drinks containers, plastic straws, and napkins. This type of litter is the 4th most common litter found across the country. Strangely, the litter was most prevalent in areas where bins were provided. This might be because the bin’s location is not ideal, it is already full, or the bin is dirty. Research has found that people don’t want to touch bins that are dirty, and that areas where bins looked cleaner had less fast food litter.

People also prefer bins with a large opening rather than a narrow one, and they prefer colourful bins. Research has shown that this increases bin use.

Bin design is also important in that if the bin has a lid, it can prevent pests and wildlife getting into the bin and scattering the litter everywhere.

Despite an increase in fast food litter, there have been improvements in retail and commercial areas, and there was less litter recorded on rural roads.



Smoking related litter

This is the most commonly discarded litter. It was found on 73% of sites that were included in the survey. Almost 10 million adults smoke in the UK, so this potentially adds up to a lot of litter.

The average number of cigarette butts found on a surveyed site was just over 7. They are most commonly found in areas where there are a lot of pubs, restaurants, and offices, especially since the smoking ban came into effect. There is more work to be done to come up with ways to encourage people who congregate outside of buildings to dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly.


People who are doing their bit

Refugees and asylum seekers in Derby had a litter picking event in the city to thank people for welcoming them when they came to the UK after fleeing from their war-torn countries. An Iraqi refugee who came to the UK in 2012 organised the event to thank Derby, and to mark Refugee Week.

Refugee week takes place around the world every year on 20th June, and it celebrates the contribution that refugees make to their new communities.

Around 10 people, including families and children, helped clean-up the streets of Derby for 2 hours as part of the event.

The volunteers were all Muslim, and they said that they took part in the event during their holy month of Ramadan, as it encourages giving something back to the community.