Noticed more litter while out and about? Since the pandemic began, we’ve all been mostly locked down to our local areas. While many of us have discovered lots of local walks, litter has also become more noticeable. So what can we do to keep East Sussex litter free?
Large numbers of people come to East Sussex to enjoy the beauty hot spots here, often meaning the bins provided become full. Rather than taking rubbish home with them, too many people leave it behind spoiling the natural beauty of East Sussex beaches and countryside.
Sadly, people generally believe that clearing up litter is someone else’s job. And while many consider littering anti-social behaviour, almost 48% of people admit to dropping litter!
Littering, the facts
Arm yourself with these facts that may help your family and friends think twice before littering:
- Think throwing fruit peel isn’t a problem? It can take up to two years for a banana skin to fully decompose!
- Leaving dog poop because it’s off the path? This is still a terrible idea, after all dog poo carries diseases and lots of other nasty things! And leaving it in the countryside in a plastic bag is equally as bad, even if the bag is ‘biodegradable’. In fact, so called ‘Biodegradable’ plastic bags can survive three years in soil and sea.
- On UK beaches there are 5000 pieces of plastic & 150 plastic bottles for each mile.
- Food containers and bottles smell good to wildlife, which often results in them getting their head stuck inside them.
- The RSPCA takes on average 14 calls every day about animals being affected by litter.
- Cigarette butts are one of the most commonly littered items and take up to two years to biodegrade. They are also a fire risk – especially in hot weather and dry grass.
- Leaving a disposable BBQ is also a major fire risk, even if it’s not alight. Find out more at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s website.
- Aluminium cans take 80 to 100 years to degrade, while plastic bottles can last forever.
- The easiest way to protect the environment and wildlife is by not littering!
Help your local park, street or beach by litter picking.
Our top tips for litter picking:
- We can all make a difference by litter picking a bit every day, such as while out walking the dog.
- Carry a pair of thick gloves (gardening gloves are ideal) and a bag in case there isn’t a bin nearby.
- People are more likely to litter if there is already litter there. So think about where you’ve seen lots of litter in the past and head that way to help break the cycle!
- Don’t just bin it! If you collect a lot of litter and you have the time, you can go one step further by sorting out the material that could be recycled. Or you could carry two different bags with you, one for rubbish and one for recycling.
- Don’t touch anything that could be dangerous or you’re not sure about. If you find anything like needles, nappies or something that contains chemicals or could be very sharp, please instead report it to your local district or borough council.
- Always wash your hands after litter picking!
- Contact your local district or borough council. They may be able to offer advice or even equipment and disposal of your collected litter.
How else can you help?
- Tell your friends not to be tossers. No, we’re not being rude! The Don’t be a Tosser campaign is aimed specifically at those who toss litter out of cars. The good news is that the registered keeper of a vehicle can now be fined if someone in their car or van throws rubbish out of it.
- Join a local beach clean.
- If you see litter on the side of a main road or carriageway let your local district or borough council Please do not attempt to clear the litter yourself as this could be very dangerous.
- If you see a large amount of rubbish dumped somewhere, such as several bags of rubbish or furniture, please also report this to your local district or borough council as this may be considered a fly tipping offence. They will then investigate and attempt to trace who the waste belongs to.
Originally published in June 2020, updated March 2021.