The #GBspringclean 2019 campaign has began and is inspiring us to keep Britain tidy. But how do we deal with the problem of littering? It's everywhere from our sandy shores to our country lanes. Is the answer to become a zero waste society, or do we need to target people's thinking? We asked what you think...
The Funky Stomp
I have to say, I find this one puzzling. Who are these people who think it's ok to chuck their rubbish without a thought for where it ends up? And don't get me started on dog poo hanging from trees in plastic bags! A lot of you are brave enough to confront litterers when you see them, but often receive, at best a shrug and at worst a bit of a mouthful.
I know I'm not the only one who, if a bit of litter escapes from the debris of the car, performs some agile moves ending with a great stomp to capture the offending item underfoot. The key to this I think is to do it in the Eddie checked boilersuit; then you're just busting some funky moves whilst getting the job done.
Changing how we think
So, what can we do about littering? Quite a bit. It's hard to change the way people think - that's something that has to happen over time. We need to invest in education so that our kids take the message home with them and we need to make it even more obvious how unacceptable this behaviour is. One person doing that in a really beautiful way is Louise McCurdy, an artist from Brighton who has an exhibition on at Recentre London at the moment. Her striking images and installations really provide a powerful message. There are lots of artists working in similar ways raising awareness of just what's going on in our environment.
To really effect powerful change, it needs to come from government. And they can propel both aspects if they choose to. In fact the Department for Environment did introduce new fines last year for littering https://www.gov.uk/government/
We need to keep doing more. We need to look after one another and our planet. Together this is a problem we can overcome. Project Rewild is a beautiful example of just this kind of thing https://www.projectrewild.co.
Becoming a zero waste society is a really interesting and exciting possibility, although we are a long way off at the moment. And it is true that if we don't have any waste there will be a lot less to end up on the beach or in the hedgerow. Add to that the possibility of only using biodegradable packaging and the problem of litter begins to melt away a little. There's a problem with that though, because biodegradable packaging still takes time to rot away, and it reflects a deeper attitude which does really matter. We need to take care of our world in more ways than not chucking our rubbish around and littering really reflects a lack of respect for nature and the planet which we can't ignore. I really liked how @landofthebluerinse put it: “littering is a metaphor for where our society is at the moment”.
In the meantime....
And in the meantime we need councils to really up their game on recycling. Some big companies have promised to step up. 18Th March 2019 was global recycling day – a great opportunity for raising the profile of this issue and getting people taking action. It needs to be easier to recycle, and we need to have confidence that our careful sorting, washing and stashing is ending up in the right places.
At Lucy & Yak HQ we are thinking about ways to look after our environment - keep tuned for more updates coming soon.