Councils Could Save £300m Each Year In Litter Costs – ESA

litterThe Environmental Services Association (ESA) has today (11 October) launched a new policy paper examining how Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) could be used to fund litter clean up.

ESA’s policy paper “The Role of Extended Producer Responsibility in Tackling Litter in the UK” considers the merits of the manufacturers of cigarettes, chewing gum and fast food contributing to the multi-million pound clean-up costs associated with the littering of their products.

“ESA’s policy paper recommends the introduction of producer responsibility levies on the manufacturers of some of the most frequently littered items. This money would be used by Local Authorities to cover litter clean up costs or to help fund anti litter campaigns”

ESA’s executive director, Jacob Hayler said: “Cigarette butts and chewing gum are some of the most littered items in the UK. Transferring the cost of preventing and clearing up these items from the public to the private purse could save Local Authorities in the region of £300m each year”

“ESA’s policy paper recommends the introduction of producer responsibility levies on the manufacturers of some of the most frequently littered items. This money would be used by Local Authorities to cover litter clean up costs or to help fund anti litter campaigns”

“We are also calling on the Government to consider the role that Extended Producer Responsibility could play in its forthcoming litter strategy.”

The Cost Of Litter

Local Authorities spend around £800m per year on street cleansing, including emptying litterbins and picking up littered items. Highways England, Network Rail and many other private landowners also clear up litter and the national bill is likely to be much higher.

73% of sites surveyed had smoking related litter on them and it costs an estimated £140million per year to clean up cigarette butts thrown away by UK smokers.

Chewing gum is costing Local Authorities in the region of £60m to clear up each year.

Fast food, drink and confectionary packaging are one of the commonest forms of litter affecting 80% of sites surveyed. The report estimates the clean-up costs councils over £100m each year.

200,000 bags of litter weighing 7,500 tonnes are removed from England’s major road network every year.

Indirect costs of litter are estimated to be substantially higher, with potential for over £500m related to impacts on mental wellbeing and up to £348m related to impacts on crime.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here


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    • Sorry James but this is utter bunkum. Councils are supposed to be spending ‘£millions/annum’ on street cleansing but there’s no evidence that it actually works. Producer responsibility only diverts public attention from the fact we’re a dirty nation and the Councils should be prosecuting litterers and posting their names and addresses on social media. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.

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