Packaging accounts for 1.3 per cent of the number of littered items dropped in Englands streets and country side, according to a new survey released by the Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment. The findings seem to contradict the figures in the Litterbugs report that came out last week, launched by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Policy Exchange (see MRW story).
The Litterbugs report used a 2006/07 survey from environment charity ENCAMS to demonstrate that confectionary packaging was the second most frequently recurring item of litter, and was present on 67 per cent of all sites surveyed. Litterbugs reported that smoking materials were found on 76 per cent of sites surveyed and drink containers 73 per cent.
Incpen also commissioned ENCAMS to carry out a study in 2008 which found that packaging accounted for 1.3 per cent of the litter dropped in England. This study found that chewing gum made up 78 per cent of the type of litter dropped on the floor, and cigarette ends 20 per cent, soft drink cans 0.1 per cent and snack packaging 0.1 per cent.
Speaking to MRW CPRE litter campaigner Sam Harding said: The difference in figures is probably because of the different methodologies used in each survey, as they are trying to determine different information. With regard to the seemingly lower figures for littered items such as sweet wrappers and soft drink cans, I would suggest this is a result of the reported increase in incidence of chewing gum, as the report confirms in Section 5.5 with regard to cigarette ends.
She added that soft drink plastic bottles were more visible items of litter than chewing gum.
Incpen director Jane Bickerstaffe said: Despite the low proportion of packaging, the reality is that litter remains an important issue for us. We will continue to work with Keep Britain Tidy, the CPRE and our members to tackle it and encourage people to dispose of used items more responsibly.