UK Litter Crisis [+ Visuals]

Regatta uncover the shocking truth behind the UK litter crisis

The amount of pollution created across the world has been highlighted vigorously over recent years. With the current pandemic now taking up news channels, tabloids and other media outlets, the coverage surrounding the environment around us has taken a back seat, but the topic is still as important as ever.

As countries across the globe went into lockdown, experts revealed that levels of carbon emissions had plummeted, due to the lack of vehicles on the roads and the majority of the aviation industry at a standstill. Although this is encouraging news, the same can’t be said for the amount of litter being dropped in the UK on a daily basis.

Sadly, the UK is facing a litter crisis with popular beauty spots such as beaches, parks and woodland areas being littered with items, causing harm to wildlife and creating an untidy environment. To highlight how severe the UK litter crisis is, Regatta have launched a campaign which looks at the matter in detail. From the amount of litter dropped every second, to the most common types dropped each year, some of their findings can be seen below.

What are the most common types of litter dropped in the UK?

From empty crisps packets to plastic bottles, we’ve all come across different types of litter, but which items are the most commonly found?

After looking at numerous sites such as parks and beaches, the most recent Local Environmental Quality Survey of England found that there are 10 most commonly found types of litter, with smoking related waste (79%) being top of the list. Other frequently found items include confectionary packs (68%), non-alcoholic drinks related litter (52%) and fast food items (33%). By reading the findings in full, you can start to see where the issues lie and that the UK Government may need to enforce tougher penalties for those found dropping litter.

UK Litter Crisis | ecogreenlove
Visual by Regatta

What damage is smoking related litter having on the UK?

It may have surprised you that smoking related litter comes out on top for the most commonly dropped, so what is the true extent of this issue?

According to research, on average 244 million cigarette butts are dropped in the UK each year, meaning that when this figure is broken down, 4,692,307.69 are dropped each week. To put these numbers into perspective, if you were to stack each of these cigarette butts on top of each other, they would be 29.7 times higher than Ben Nevis. This shocking figure alone makes you start to understand just how smoking related litter alone is having detrimental effects on the UK each year and why it’s time to turn this issue around.

UK Litter Crisis • cigarette butts | ecogreenlove
Visual by Regatta

How much litter is dropped in the UK every second?

The chances are it has never crossed your mind how much litter is dropped in the UK every day, never mind each second. According to Keep Britain Tidy, a devastating 2 million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every single day. To make this figure even more alarming, it means that 23 items of rubbish are dropped every second. After learning how much litter is dropped in the UK on a daily basis, you start to realise just how bad the current crisis is and the importance of each individual doing their bit to create a litter-free environment.

UK Litter Crisis | ecogreenlove
Visual by Regatta

After reading some of the shocking figures discovered in Regatta’s campaign, we want to know what you think about the UK litter crisis. Share your thoughts on social, using #UKLitterCrisis.

We also have some great advice on how to dispose of litter properly including face masks.

Find Regatta on:

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5 thoughts on “UK Litter Crisis [+ Visuals]

  1. Here is a US perspective.
    While we are driving less we are getting more food delivered by the meal delivery companies and regular take out.
    When we go to the grocery store, we can’t use our re-usable bags. I have bags of paper bags now and even some plastic bags. We use them for trash can liners.
    This pandemic is creating so much waste.

    1. Thank you for passing by and for your feedback! 💚

      Yes, we were hoping to open our eyes towards the climate crisis after seeing all the upsides in the environment during lockdown, but once we were reactivated, waste and pollution caught up the double, as if we needed to catch up on the damage. Food delivery, online shopping, facemask pollution on the ground and in the ocean, more disposable shopping rather than reusable… we threw out of the window what we had advanced…

    2. Hi Omni,
      Are reusable bags still not allowed in your area? It may be worth checking whether that has changed. In the Bay Area, at least, they have been allowed since around July or August.
      Cheers!
      J

We appreciate your feedback! 💚

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