Don’t be a tosser.

Around 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year. When you consider the impact it’s having on the environment, we need to ask, why? how? and who?

Litter is becoming a growing problem due to a number of different factors such as a growing population, technological advancement and a change in consumer patterns along with many other demographically challenging issues such as economic wealth, education and weather patterns. It seems there use to be a time where if something you owned was broken, you would fix it. Now a days it seems there has been a shift in mentality where for some, it’s just as easy to throw the item away and buy a new one.

We haven’t just changed the way we buy clothes or the way we use our phones. A change in the way we consume food has also helped with the litter problem. Since 2014, fast food outlets in England alone have increased by 4,000. Chances are, if you live near a takeaway then you will have witnessed plastic forks, cardboard pizza boxes or plastic bags floating about the streets. This isn’t to say the people shopping there are littering, litter could be happening from the weather sweeping the materials from the bins because they are just overfull with rubbish.

Compared with generations older than myself, I think that our lifestyles have also changed. We are much busier now, we snack more and with that, purchase more products. All of these purchases that we do not necessarily need carry unwanted tags, extra buttons or fancy packaging which really do not do the environment any favours at all. It would be interesting to see if you could remove all those unnecessary additions to have the products at a cheaper price. That would surely benefit both the business and consumer wouldn’t it?

litter lot 1
A lighter; you could have one lighter and keep refilling that but people see it just as easy to buy a new one. Sadly, producing even more unnecessary plastic.

Saying that, how do we know about those new burgers at KFC, upcoming music festival or new takeaway that’s opened down the road? Advertising. We can all relate to the paper menus coming through the letterbox or the flyers we have taken from the person stood in town. Do these advertising methods even work in terms of sales because it seems all the flyers just end up in the next bin. Truth is, it will help much more if you add a ‘NO JUNK MAIL‘ to your door or letter box and say ‘NO’ if you don’t want one (it will save you time and stress from having to keep getting rid of them). Hopefully that way, businesses will get the message that wasting paper just isn’t worth their money too.

Every Sunday, I take just a little bit of time out my day to pick up some litter in my local area. Every little bit counts after all. Today, while walking, I was wondering to myself, “Could this litter just end up as litter again?” The answer is obviously yes, there is no guarantee that even if I recycle the materials properly, they could easily fall out of a lorry or wherever and end up in the ocean which is obviously what I do not want…

My focus today was to collect as many plastic containers as my arms would let me. Instead of disposing of these items properly, I will use the materials and give them a completely new purpose; that way, somebody can enjoy a product which offers value.

Here are a list of 5 common littered materials that I find on my walks and over the next 5 weeks, I will be using the materials and creating something completely different to help us think about litter differently.

Week 1 – Plastic Containers

plastic containers

Week 2 – Bottlecaps

Week 3 – Plastic Bags

Week 4 – Cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium cans.

 

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