Matt Wesley & Andy Carter From The Street Cleansing Team
Of all the items that end up as litter, one of them can’t be swept away and that is chewing gum. This is why Lichfield District Council is among 44 local authorities across the country taking part in a campaign to highlight the importance of always binning it.
According to the Local Environment Quality Survey for England, carried out by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of Defra, one in ten sites monitored in England still have unacceptable levels of litter and, whilst there are many different types of littered items, chewing gum is part of the ongoing litter challenge, across the UK.
To counter this issue the Chewing Gum Action Group is running the #binityourway campaign. It encourages the whole nation to rethink how they treat their neighbourhoods and is funded by the chewing gum industry.
The campaign includes a series of colourful posters, adverts, banners and other promotional material featuring people using creative ways to put their chewing gum in the bin. This includes ‘the gum slam dunk’, ‘the gum pop’, ‘the gum strut, as well as ‘the gum curve’ and ‘the gum swish’ as fun ways to ‘bin it your way’.
Littered gum is an important and emotive issue for local residents, and costly to remove. Recent Local Environmental Quality Surveys of England found chewing gum staining 99 percent of all primary retail and commercial sites surveyed.
Councillor Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Operational Services, Leisure & Waste, said: “We were delighted to be one of the councils chosen to run this campaign to combat chewing gum litter.
“Research has shown that most gum droppers don’t see it as littering, so the most effective and sustainable way to tackle the problem is to increase awareness, education and to promote a responsible attitude among gum droppers.
“The campaign message is all around encouraging people who drop chewing gum to realise that it is littering and to change their behaviour.
“No one likes to see chewed gum on local streets and we hope this campaign will make people think again and help us to keep the district tidy for everyone.”
As one of the 44 local authorities and partners from across the UK taking part in this year’s campaign, Lichfield District Council is displaying campaign materials on its vehicles and various sites across the district. It will also be monitoring gum litter throughout the period.
Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive at environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: “The Chewing Gum Action Group’s aim is to reduce gum litter by working with councils and partners across the UK. For over ten years they have been committed to using creative ways to get people to bin their gum when they’ve finished chewing. From our experience, we know these campaigns work and really resonate with people.”
Lichfield District Council takes a hard line with littering and issue fines to deter people from doing it again. The fixed penalty for littering is £80.
For more information, please visit www.chewinggumactiongroup.org.uk, or join the conversation using #binityourway.