Prevention of Litter – Litter Bin Design and Placement

In the UK alone, 2.25 million pieces of litter are dropped on the streets of the UK every day. Litter dropping behaviour may be caused by many factors. Litter is an ongoing issue within communities. Once litter starts to build it can become an even bigger problem. Rubbish on streets, creates a negative perception of an area, leading to a fear of crime and in the long term, also an effect on property prices. It isn’t only the look of an area that litter effects, but also the wellbeing of wildlife and the natural environment too.

Street cleaning costs more than £700 million in England, so therefore it is necessary to take the steps to reduce this preventable bill. It is necessary to find solutions to prevent litter being dropped initially.

It is difficult to change the behaviour of 1 in 5 people who regularly drop litter, but taking steps with the prevention can only help.  Keep Britain Tidy believes that everyone has the right to live and work in a place that is clean and litter free.

Positioning of Litter Bins

Litter bin positioning is key. Litter bins need to be placed in prime locations such as along pedestrian pathways, and in areas where littering is a problem. Litter bins near fast food restaurants, bus stops and train stations will also help to catch some of the ‘on the go food’ users. Much of the research carried out shows that people often blame their littering on a lack of bins.

The changing lifestyle with people in a rush, means that more people are eating ‘food on the go’. Research carried out by Keep Britain Tidy showed that in 80% of sites surveyed, that there was some form of ‘food on the go’ litter present. With the pace of daily life increasing, more and more people eat on the go, resulting in the requirement for well positioned litter bins.

It is important to consider where the demand for the litter bins will be the greatest. By providing litter bins in areas which require them, for example near to a bench in a park, can play its part in preventing the dropping of litter and encourage people to dispose of litter responsibly.

Small changes within the physical environment, can influence people. It is therefore important to assess and address the availability and accessibility of litter bins, and the effect on littering behaviour.

An experiment carried out by Keep Britain Tidy showed that when an extra litter bin was placed within a 50 metre strip outside a row of shops, there was 10% reduction in overall littering. This demonstrates that by ensuring litter bins are placed where there is demand, it will play its role in helping to reduce litter being dropped on the streets.

Design and Maintenance of Litter Bins

Litter bins needs to be available, accessible and visible. The design and maintenance of litter bins affects peoples littering behaviour.

Although a litter bin is essentially a place to dispose of rubbish, they still need to look attractive to encourage people to approach and use them.

Litter bin design is important to making a bin accessible. Bins should be appealing, convenient and easy to use. People are not likely to use a litter bin where they have to physically touch it, for example.

There are a wide range of litter bins available in traditional and modern styles. Bins are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and to fit in with the surrounding area.

To ensure litter bins remain aesthetically appealing, the maintenance of litter bins is important.  Litter bins are developing to become more efficient. The development of a smart bin, which informs a central hub when it requires emptying, and plans a collection route, can help with the maintenance of litter bins, and play its role with reducing the amount of litter on the streets.

A visible, well maintained litter bin is more likely to be used than an overfilled rusty litter bin with holes.

Litter has direct financial, environmental and health consequences to individuals and communities. To aid in the prevention of littering, and to save the cost of street cleaning it is necessary to consider the design and positioning of litter bins, ensuring they are placed in key locations. It is important to remember that litter bins should be accessible, available and visible.