Cans, takeaway coffee cups, plastic bottles, plastic sandwich containers, crisp bags, bottles .. and fly tipping. All a very common sight along the lanes of West Sussex and East Hampshire where  I drive and cycle regularly. 

The only way the rubbish finds it’s way to these roadsides is from individuals who are too selfish, lazy and stupid to bother to put it in a bin. 

It’s disgusting, disgraceful and saddening to see the South Downs National Park treated in this way.

The media – traditional and social – is crammed full of stuff about pollution. People like me read it, take notice, share the message on social media and change some of our habits to do our bit for the environment. Some of us regularly pick up litter in the lanes too. 

The people that we need to get through to aren’t reading or taking on board stuff the messages about the environment. If they are too lazy to walk from their vehicle to a bin they are hardly going to take a reusable cup with them or a refillable drinks bottle.

To get to these people both the message and the way it is delivered need to change. These 5 simple changes would be a massive step in the right direction.

  1. The prices shown for take away hot drinks need turning on their head. Rather than give a discount to those using a reusable cup all prices shown should be for reusable cups. Anyone wanting a single use cup pays 30p extra. The additional cost is far harder hitting than a discount and it delivers the right message. 
  2. Every organisation with vehicles on the road needs a policy covering how drivers and passenger store and dispose of waste whilst they are on the road. Providing a container for waste in every vehicle is a good starting point.
  3. Strong verbal and visual messages should be the norm at point of sale. I don’t want to be asked by a shop assistant if I want a humungous bar of chocolate for £1 or a pastry with my coffee. Why not offer to sell me a reusable hot drinks mug or drinking bottle if I’m buying single use.
  4. All single use packaging that is not biodegradable should bear a warning in the same way we have warnings on packets of cigarettes. 
  5. Every retail chain I visit is guilty of asking the wrong question with regard to bags. Everyone asks ‘Would you like a bag?’ The correct question is ‘Do you have a bag with you?’  Charging for bags has helped but it still appals me that retailers simply don’t address the problem in the right way.

So, which delivery firm, chain of coffee shops or retailer will be the first to really champion changing habits …..or could they work together and take a collective stance?