'Nudge' economist wins Nobel prize

'Nudge' economist wins Nobel prize.

Congratulations to Professor Richard Thaler - a founding father of behavioural economics and the man who coined the term 'nudge'.

His theories and work have been hugely influential in our work - helping people to make better choices for everyone's benefits. 

And his Nobel prize win demonstrates the importance of the work of our Centre for Social Innovation - developing and trialling creative new solutions to meet our charity's aims. 


All change for the 'forest' line

Willesden Green tube station has been transformed into a wild woodland for anti-gum littering campaign.

A wild woodland forest sprung up around London’s Willesden Green tube station today as the Chewing Gum Action Group launched this year’s campaign to reduce gum littering.

The Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG) has created the UK’s first tube station surrounded by a pop-up woodland, named Gum Forest, to raise awareness around responsible gum disposal.

Understanding Gum Littering, research conducted on behalf of Wrigley in 2016, discovered that people’s perception of how natural a space is influences whether they’re likely to drop gum there[1] so CGAG hopes the appearance of the Gum Forest, a rural woodland in a urban space, will prompt people to change their attitude to dropping gum – no matter where they are.

Psychologist Emma Kenny explains: “There are many psychological reasons why people litter, for the most part it's simply thoughtless behaviour, an individual’s incapacity to understand how such a seemingly small action can lead to unnecessary and needless environmental damage.

“Ironically, it is this disregard for our outside surroundings that in return affects our happiness and wellbeing. There is an abundance of research that evidences how our local environment impacts on our state of mind. The cleaner and more well-kept our surroundings, the calmer, more relaxed and in control we feel as people.”

Though the forest will live at Willesden Green in Brent for just one day, Brent’s Gum Forest will live on, by being divided up between Brent’s community gardens.

Brent is one of 44 local authorities and partners from across the UK taking part in this year’s campaign, displaying campaign materials on poster sites, monitoring gum litter and running Gum Forest creative activations.  This year’s campaign has seen a huge jump in participating councils, with three times more areas taking part compared to 2016. For more information, please visit, or join the conversation using #gumforest and #binityourway.


[1]Ethnographic research carried out from January-March 2016 in four UK locations – Southampton, Kettering, Doncaster and Islington.  The research included 160 hours of observation, 40 on street interviews and 16 long ethnographic interview. 


Water water everywhere

But our research shows we don’t always know when we can ask for it.

Water water everywhere, but our research shows we don’t always know when we can ask for it.
We all know drinking plenty of water, especially in warm weather or when we are on the go, is good for our bodies and minds. But our recent research, carried out by YouGov and in association with BRITA UK, shows that many of us don’t know our rights when it comes for asking for water when we are out of the house.
Nearly three-quarters of us say we would like more availability of free tap water. But many of us either aren’t aware of our rights, or are nervous to ask for it, when it comes to accessing tap water, so we could be missing out. 
Our study showed 71% of people are uncomfortable asking for free tap water, without also buying something else while 37% are still uncomfortable asking for it, even if they are also making a purchase. 
But knowing our water rights can help. In England, Scotland and Wales, these include …
Licensed premises (including bars, restaurants and theatres) have a legal duty to provide free drinking water on request – although they can charge you to use the glass it comes in.
Schools must provide drinking water for all pupils at all times.
And all UK employers must provide free drinking water for staff in the workplace at all times. 
There is no legal duties for unlicensed premises – places like cinemas, health clubs or tourist attractions – to provide free water, although some will choose to. 
We found three out of four of us don’t know these water rights, and only 11% of us normally get tap water from cafes or restaurants on the go. 
So know your rights – then you can decide how and where you want to get your water each day.  For more information about our survey, including our recommendations from the findings, you can read the report here.


Awards season at Keep Britain Tidy

We are used to giving out awards ourselves but it is a real honour to be nominated for some too

At Keep Britain Tidy we give out a wide range of awards to some very deserving schools, spaces, groups and councils.But it is a real honour when we are nominated for awards for our work too. Here are the highlights of some awards we are presently in the running for... 
  • Also at the National Recycling Awards, our (Re)Love Our Stuff project in East London has been shortlisted in the Waste Prevention Award.  
  • Our Green Flag Award scheme has been shortlisted for the Awards Awards 2017 in the category "best judging panel and process for an award." 
  • Surrey County Council’s Food waste campaign (which our food waste intervention work was a large part of) has also been shortlisted for the Communications – Public/Third Sector award at the National Recycling Awards.

Good luck to all the teams, we'll be keeping our fingers crossed. And we aren't just getting nominated for awards, we are winning them too ...

  • Bin it for Good, the anti-litter project created by Keep Britain Tidy and The Wrigley Company, won an Excellence Award for Sustainability at the 2016-17 AIM Nudging for Good Awards at a star-studded ceremony in Brussels. Read the full story...
  • We also have two places in Resource magazine’s annual Hot 100 poll. Our Waste Services Manager, Dr. Anna Scott was number 21 in the poll and the Cheshire Waste Reduction Volunteers were at number 46.


Calling for new journal articles

Do you work in or research litter or environmental quality? Want to be published? 

Our Centre for Social Innovation publishes the country's only journal on litter and environmental quality. The first issue was hugely well received, even featuring in the national press (download issue one now). We are now looking for submissions for the next issue. 

The Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality is a bi-annual, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that shares and discusses research that has been carried out by academics, practitioners and wider stakeholders into litter and environmental quality. The Journal is available online and through a limited print run. The purpose is to highlight the latest research in this area, to stimulate further research and encourage the use of research to develop practical innovation on the ground. 

We are interested in a broad range of article submissions around the issues of litter and environmental quality. Topics of interest could include articles about specific litter types (e.g. packaging, cigarettes, wrappers), marine litter, monitoring and evaluation, packaging, research methods, social impact, environmental impact, behaviour change, personal impact, enforcement, private land, partnership working, public spaces (e.g. beaches, parks and waterways), innovation and community engagement.

There are two editions per year, one in the summer and a second in the autumn. Submissions are taken on a rolling basis, but the deadline for the 2nd edition has been extended to mid-October 2017. Please try to submit your article as early as possible to enable us to have time to have it reviewed.

All the information you need is available in our call for articles document. If you are unsure if the article you have written or are considering writing is suitable for Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality, please get in touch and we will be able to advise you on suitability. 



‘Beacons of litter’ act as magnet for more rubbish

Research by our Centre for Social Innovation published today in the inaugural edition of our Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality.

New research by our Centre for Social Innovation has found the presence of large, brightly-coloured items of litter – crisp packets, bottles, chicken boxes and sandwich boxes – act as a ‘beacon’, giving others permission to drop their rubbish and that keeping areas free from these ‘beacons of litter’ reduces overall littering. 

The research is published today in the inaugural edition of our Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality.

Our ‘Beacons of Litter’ social experiment involved cleaning three areas in two locations - Stourbridge in the West Midlands and Stoke Newington in north-east London - so that they were completely free of litter, we then planted ‘beacon’ items in one location, other smaller litter items, including tissues and small pieces of paper, in a second and leaving a third area litter-free as a control.

We monitored the sites to see how people behaved and how much litter accumulated and the results were clear. The experiment was repeated six times over two weeks, with a total of 72 hours of observations monitoring taking place.

In places where the ‘beacons of litter’ were present, we found 35% of people littered their rubbish. In the areas where the smaller items were placed, that percentage fell to 22% and in the control, where no litter was placed, the percentage who littered was 17%.

We also discovered that people were more likely to drop ‘beacon’ items if other ‘beacons’ litter was already present - 41% of people observed dropped drinks containers, plastic bags and other ‘beacons’ items but this fell to just 11% in the ‘other’ condition and 10% in the control. 

The Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality is available to download now.



We welcome country’s first-ever Litter Strategy

In it the Government backs our Eco-Schools programme to educate the next generation

Government backs Eco-Schools programme to educate the next generation
We have welcomed the launch of the Government’s Litter Strategy for England, published today.
The Strategy identifies Eco-Schools, the world’s biggest environmental education programme, which is run by Keep Britain Tidy in England, as a key mechanism to educate children and young people about the impact of litter.
Eco-Schools has already received support from the Prime Minister who has visited two in her constituency since September last year.
Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Educating the next generation is vital if we are to win the war on litter. Our children and young people are the key to making littering a thing of the past.

“Learning about litter and its impacts, as part of their wider environmental education, must be a central pillar of the concerted effort needed to tackle the problem once and for all.”
Last month more than 300,000 people, including thousands of school children, took part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, clearing more than half a million bags of rubbish from our streets, parks, beaches and countryside.
The Government has recognised the value of this initiative in the Strategy, not simply to remove litter from the environment but also to raise awareness that a growing number of people want to see an end to littering and are prepared to take action.
Allison said: “We are delighted that the Government has pledged its continued support and endorsement of the Great British Spring Clean and to use its influence to encourage participation and support from people and businesses.”

The Government’s decision to set up a working group to look at how economic measures could help reduce littering is also a positive step, given the success of the 5p charge on single-use carrier bags.
Keep Britain Tidy runs awards programmes, including the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for beaches, the Green Flag Award for parks and the Keep Britain Tidy Award for public spaces and the Government identifies these as being central to creating litter-free environments in the Strategy and says it will encourage land managers to apply for these awards to ensure their efforts are recognised.
The charity also welcomes the Government’s pledge to introduce regulations that will allow local authorities to issue penalty charge notices to the registered keeper of a vehicle if litter is thrown from it, which will make it easier for local authorities to tackle the problem of roadside litter, which is difficult and costly to clear.
Keep Britain Tidy has been at the forefront of developing and testing innovations to tackle littering, some of which are identified in the Strategy, and we are delighted that the Government has pledged to set up a Litter Innovation Fund to support the development of affordable and scalable solutions that are proven to make a difference.
Allison added: “There is much to commend in this Strategy and we look forward to seeing some ambitious targets from the Government and effective monitoring to ensure that the Strategy makes the measurable difference we all want to see.