Why the UK’s Litter Crisis is YOUR Problem Too (and What You Can Do to Help Fix it)

Our general disconnectedness with issues we don’t think affect us directly is a fallacy, any which way you look at it, because everything and anything under the sun ultimately affects us in some or other way. If you’re at the “I really don’t care” end of the littering scale then perhaps a greater understanding of how your actions ultimately come back to affect you will help you do your bit to take better care of our environment. If you occasionally drop what you dismiss as an insignificant ciggie butt, ultimately, you’re just as guilty as those who litter without any guilt.

If you don’t litter at all and you do your bit as an up-standing member of the community in this way, unfortunately your actions, while commendable, ultimately don’t prevent the UK’s litter problem from being your personal problem too!

Litter in the UK is indeed a crisis and it’s your problem too. It’s everybody’s problem who is in one or other way affected by it…

Every bit adds up and it’s costing you loads!

Whether you’ve perhaps only done it once or a couple of times in your life, you do it occasionally, or you do it regularly, that piece of litter you drop adds up to the average of three pieces of litter being dropped in the UK, every second! The most common types of litter include:

-Smoking related litter

-Confectionary packs

-Non-alcoholic related litter

-Fast-food related litter

-Litter related to alcoholic drinks


-Snack packs

-Vehicle parts

-Discarded food and drinks, and


An amazing 30% of all litter dropped is related to cigarettes, which says a lot about the lingering smoking problem in the UK, but how does that affect you personally, whether or not you smoke and whether or not you drop this and other types of litter?

Every little bit adds up and not only to the big pile of collective rubbish that has to be cleaned by people who ultimately have to be paid to complete that work. So that’s how it affects you; you’re part of the pool of taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill, even if you don’t consider your own personal income tax as significant. When you consider what it would take to clean up and dispose of the amount of cigarette butts dropped every week, which is the equivalent of 28 Ben Nevis’, you’d make the logical deduction that the taxes required to fund such operations are not only collected through income tax.

Your VAT money could be going to better causes, for instance…

What you can do to help

So it’s clear that every bit adds up, but what can you do to help?

If you litter, stop it, immediately, but you should also hold your fellow citizens to account and call them out if they litter, no matter how inconvenient it may be to you.

Support businesses and organisations like Regatta, which take an active role in facilitating clean-up operations, and spread the word about these efforts.

Be the change you should now also want to see, if that hasn’t been the case all along. Mobilise clean-up parties that don’t even have to go beyond your immediate living space, such as your neighbourhood. You can get “some of your own back” in this way by perhaps exchanging the recyclable waste material for some small change, to negate the tax pounds you’re indirectly losing to government funded cleaning operations.

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