JEREMY PAXMAN CALLS FOR FOODSERVICE SECTOR TO TAKE ACTION ON LITTER
Jeremy Paxman, speaking to the foodservice industry at the FPA annual Environment Seminar, set the tone for the litter agenda in 2016 by calling on the whole supply chain to take action to tackle the UK’s litter crisis or face legislative action.
He said that the UK is at a tipping point in attitudes to litter and that businesses need to collaborate to take action and tackle the problem. Litter is rising up the English political agenda and businesses need to start acting differently to seize the initiative before government forces action through taxes and legislative changes.
Addressing the audience of foodservice packaging manufacturers and distributors, foodservice operators such McDonalds, Sodexo, Compass and Costa, waste processors and consultants, Paxman said the £1bn spent by the UK each year on cleaning up litter was a waste of everyone’s money. He acknowledged that the foodservice sector is not responsible for litter per se – people drop litter – but he said that if the streets are lined with rubbish with corporate logos on them, then those corporates have a problem that impacts the bottom line by up to 2% (Bradford University School of Management). These businesses therefore have a responsibility get involved with their consumers and take action on litter.
Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Derek Robertson gave a raft of examples of litter initiatives that have worked in Scotland, largely because there is one coordinating body in Scotland – Keep Scotland Beautiful. He reiterated that ‘a common voice and collective action will have an impact’.
Trewin Restorick, the founder of litter lobbying group Hubbub, also illustrated how success can be achieved when people work together, pointing to the Villiers Street initiatives which saw littering drop by 26% over a month long period. He said that the British public is ‘deeply agitated by litter but it is an unsaid frustration’. He pointed out that behaviour changes over the day with 75% of people littering on Villiers Street at night, and called for a national litter strategy to coordination action. Hubbub’s work on litter has proved that some approaches can make a real difference and retail and foodservice business needed to get involved to support campaigns. Support from the likes of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Lucozade and Incpen has resulted in the rolling out of the Neat Streets programme with campaigns planned in 2016 in Birmingham, Manchester, Scotland and the Forest of Dean.
Emma Cunningham from the Marine Conservation Society reported that the Marine Litter Action Network was being championed by the Society, in order to reduce the volumes of litter found on the UK’s beaches, most of which has been littered on land and carried to the shore by wind or water. Plastics are the biggest threat as they do not biodegrade and wear down into ever decreasing particle sizes which are ingested by marine life. The Marine Conservation Society is working to influence key areas in order to deliver behavioural changes, education about litter and product design in order to help design out threats such as micro beads in personal items.
FPA Executive Director Martin Kersh said: “The FPA has become an influential thought leader on the topic of litter. Bringing together this high calibre group of influencers helps to ensure that major stakeholders are talking to each other and developing a common agenda for tackling litter.”
Ends 28 January 2016
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