General Article ‘Beaches and parks are overwhelmed with rubbish – it’s heartbreaking’...

Topic Selected: Waste and Recycling Book Volume: 385

...Littering has soared during lockdown 

Has Britain really become a nation of litter louts overnight? It seems unlikely, but the pandemic has changed people’s behaviour.

By Harry Wallop

The quantity of Ocado bags under my kitchen sink has now become so voluminous that I may suffocate under a sea of plastic, long before coronavirus gets me. The online supermarket used to religiously take back any plastic bags (not just its own) to be recycled, but at the start of the Covid crisis it paused this ‘following World Health Organisation advice’. The online supermarket cannot say when it will restart recycling.

It is just one small, and admittedly very middle class, example of how the battle against single-use plastics has been abandoned in our war against the pandemic. But it is not the only one.

Two public water fountains I pass each day – both installed in my neighbourhood – have been wrapped up in bin liners and red-and-white warning tape, as if they were biohazards. My local café no l...

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