Local littering down -10%

Find who, and what drives the behaviour of, ‘fizzy drinks’ litterers


• 245 observed disposals (includes both bin disposals and littering)

• 49 people stopped on the street

• 2 x 8 people qualitative group participants


• 2 street litter bins


• The design was paired samples t test


• Observing behaviour and on-street interviews over 6 days for 8 hours a day


• We achieved 10% reduction in general littering

• We found it was younger generation littering fizzy drinks

• We found the amount of littering was small compared to impression


1. Observe behaviour

Two sites were discretely observed for littering and wider (correct) disposal behaviours

• 6 hours a day

• For 3 days per week, for 2 weeks

We defined:

• Litter/item type

• and the disposal placement (‘Channel/gutter’, ‘Paving joints’, etc.) according LEQSE classification

• and the method of disposal (‘Drop: intentional’, ‘Flick/fling’, ‘Inch away’, etc.) according to Keep America Beautiful study (2009)

• added contextual factors such as speed of walking, with friends or alone, etc.

• And many more

Of 245 disposals only 1.2% of all littered items where coca cola products

2. Ask intentions

Two sites were sampled for on-street survey, totally 49 on-street interviews

3. Extract deep-seated views

2 x 8 people qualitative group participants

• Recognised: So visible! Over estimated fizzy drinks as most littered item after cigarettesnon-alcoholic drinks ‘beacons of litter’ (31% or 5 of 16 responses). In reality, non-alcoholic drinks littering was 1.2% (3 of 245) of all binning and littering combined – certainly nowhere near 31% that our group presented

• Revealed: Respondents were miming ‘dropping’ litter in bins or on floor whenever they said it –  shows a shared internal ‘script’, and that open drop bins match better most people


4. Account for the effect of ‘the situation’

To test the impact of ‘beautification’ and ‘disposal convenience’ on littering/binning behaviours, we:

• In week 1, no changes to the site took place

• At the start of week 2, both sites were cleansed to a high level and extra litter bins were added

The litter trend shows a 10% reduction overall with added bins and extra cleaning


5. Outcome & strategy

• Non-alcoholic drinks litterers We found that 100% of our non-alcoholic drinks litterers littered when in a group – no one littered alone. Also, in Australia in 1997 they found similar: “People under the age of 25 were most likely to litter if they were in a group; people over the age of 25 were most likely to litter when they were alone.”

• Non-alcoholic drinks littered may communicate that other less overt littering is more likely to be okay – they become ‘persuasion beacons’.

• And these ‘persuasion beacons’ are likely harming multiple levels of a brand’s evaluation as Roper and Parker (2013) concluded and quantified in their paper ‘Doing well by doing good: A quantitative investigation of the litter effect’.

There’s a switch-over mid 20’s where littering stops

Binned non-alcoholic drinks observed; base=15, Littered non-alcoholic drinks observed and declared; base=7, All observed littering; base=245


Contact us

+44 (0)843 289 2901


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