How much litter is there?
About 2.25 million pieces of litter are dropped on the streets of the UK every day. Thirty million tons of rubbish are collected from England’s streets each year. That’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium four times over.
The Highways Agency clears about 180,000 sacks of litter from motorways and A roads alone. There could be 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of the ocean. About 80% of that comes from the land. Plastic takes at least 450 years to break down in seawater.
In 2013/14, local authorities dealt with 852,000 fly-tipping incidents in England and Wales. These cost roughly £45 million to clear up. The RSPCA receives 7,000 calls a year about animals injured by litter.
In 2013, 8.3 billion single-use plastic bags were handed out in the UK. The amount of litter on UK beaches has almost doubled over the past 15 years.
An RSPB study found that 95% of fulmars washed up dead on the North Sea coast had ingested plastic
How long does it take to biodegrade?
- Paper bag up to one month
- Orange peel up to two years
- Banana skin up to two years
- Plastic bag up to 10–20 years
- Cigarette butts up to 12 years
- Plastic bottle up to 450 years
- Glass bottles and chewing gum are not biodegradable
How much is it costing?
- It costs taxpayers almost £1 billion every year to clean up litter from our streets
- The cost of cleaning up chewing gum from a town centre is up to £60,000
- Fly-tipping costs Network Rail more than £2.3 million each year
- Clearing litter costs Dartmoor National Park £20,000 a year
- According to a 2014 Keep Britain Tidy report, if we recycled 50% of items littered in England, it would have an economic value of at least £14.8 million
FoRS are able to offer help in setting up ‘Clean Zones’