General Article Litter and littering in England 2017 to 2018

Topic Selected: Waste and Recycling Book Volume: 385

Litter on the ground and site cleanliness

Usually, the more litter there is on the ground the greater the impact it has on how clean a place appears to be, which in turn can affect people’s willingness to drop litter there. We use data from four sources to understand how much litter is found on the ground in England, and what types of items are most often found on our streets and beaches.

Measuring litter

There’s no one perfect way to measure litter – for example:

  • if we measured litter by weight, we wouldn’t know if we were counting a small number of heavy items, or a large number of light items
  • if we measured the number of litter items this wouldn’t necessarily reflect the impact on the way a place looks – a small number of large items might make a place appear more littered than a large number of small items
  • measuring only the presence or absence of litter does not show how long the litter has been there, or how much of it is present

How much litter is there?

Survey data from K...

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