Litter- Trash Facts- England and Wales

I have done so many posts on litter in the USA. Unfortunately litter is a huge global problem. Can across this interesting information about litter in England and Wales.

Taxpayer Cost of Litter in England and Wales

  • In 1963 the cost to local taxpayer in England and Wales was £13 Million.
  • Current cost of litter in England and Wales- £450 Million – Plus add in the costs with litter from parks and other public places.
  • An Excess of 30 Million Tonnes of LItter are collected from DEFRS and ENCAMS (Previously Tidy Britain Group) every year.
  • ENCAMS- spend between £6 and £19 per kilometer to sweep the streets.
  • More than 100,000 trolleys go astray from supermarkets each year. The cost of recovering them from rivers, ponds and beauty spots is estimated at £5 million.
  • According to ENCAMS’ Local Environmental Quality Survey of England 2006/07, smoking related litter was found in 78% of all locations surveyed. An estimated 122 tonnes of cigarette butts, matchsticks and other cigarette related litter are dropped every day across the UK. It costs an estimated £342 million per year to clean up the 200 million cigarette butts thrown away every day by UK smokers

Types of Litter

  • 90% of Drivers find that litter on the roadsides irritating and disgusting.
  • The amount of fast food litter, especially within the past decade has risen quickly and is one of the top three forms of litter reported to the Council. National data in 2003 has confirmed this by stating that it rose by 12% – with items such as sweet wrappers, crisp packets and takeaway litter rising by 6%
  • Nationally the number of drinks cartons on our streets during this period has also risen by 11%, together with a rise of by 7% for fast food dumped with these types of litter.
  • Over 90% of England’s streets are blighted with cigarette ends, cigarette packets and matches.
  • An estimated 122 tons of cigarette butts and cigarette-related litter is dropped every day across the UK.

Top Littered fast food brands in England (2009_

1. McDonald’s – 29 %

2. Unbranded fish and chips/kebab – 21 %

3. Greggs -18 %

4. KFC – 8 %

5. Subway – 5 % and other branded coffee 5 % (joint place)


  • The increase in presence of both fast food and fast food related litter has helped to dramatically swell the resident rat population within Britain to over 60 million – that’s more than the number of humans currently living within the country.
  • Figures show that no person is more than 10 metres from a rat at anytime in the day. The increasing rat populations within the UK mean that we are greater at threat of catching Weil’s disease from rats’ urine. Weil’s disease can lead to kidney and liver failure and eventually death.


  • Figures provided by DEFRA state that almost 40% of outdoor fires each year are litter and refuse related fires and ones that can be easily avoided.


  • Increasingly drugs related litter is becoming a problem. This was confirmed in a survey in 2001 within the UK, in which 66% of councils with a seaside boundary found drugs and drug related paraphernalia such as needles, syringes, and blood infected material to mention but a few, upon their beaches. In this same research 68% of councils also found needles in public toilets and that over 20,000 discarded and potentially infected needles were found in the UK last year (2001) in parks, public toilets, churchyards, abandoned cars and even on beaches.
  • In 2001, 214 people, including 17 children, were either stabbed by or injured picking up this drugs-related litter.
  • The places where most Local Authorities found contaminated needles and drug related paraphernalia were in parks and playing fields with 72% of them finding them here and over 64% of Councils had removed needles from residential gardens.


  • Hull City Council -,119160&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

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  1. William J Dalton says

    I have just returned from the US where I attended a four day festival where over one million people where in attendance, My son who lives in the US asked why I was taking pictures of the ground, my answer, not one piece of litter anywhere to be seen even near the many food stalls. everyone put their rubbish in the many bins provided.
    The Airprort at Chicago was also immaculate with no sign of litter anywhere, have you ever flown from Heathrow where you are taken by bus to the plane, there is litter everywhere, and most of it looks to have been there for years.
    Also I have memories of Glastonbury where you could not see the ground for rubbish, dumped by us filthy British, God Knows what the Americans think of us when they visit the UK.
    If the Americans can have pride in their country with over 800 million people, why the hell can’t we, our country is a total disgrace, and probably the filthiest in Europe, and I don’t think it will ever change no matter who is in power, what we need is some one like the French president,

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