Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Why we should all take our litter home

A few weeks ago I received an email from the Chairman of Chichester Camera Club. He brought my attention to an entry into the ‘New and Aspiring Members’ category of Chichester Camera Club’s Spring Exhibition.

The photographer, Hilary Featherstone, had exhibited a large collage consisting of some 120 images of litter just discarded  into our verges, footpaths and countryside. All these images had been taken when Hilary was out walking her dog over the winter and spring.

Now they say a picture paints 1,000 words and this photo collage really does. As ever in life, it is all about timing. At the time I received the email, our Waste Services Team were working on a countywide campaign due to launch later this summer. The campaign is asking all West Sussex residents to ‘Think Before You Throw’ as we aim to increase our recycling rates to 50% and cut our mountain of waste.

The latest figures show that around 20% of items in our rubbish bins can be recycled, but instead are going to landfill. Worse still, it’s costing more than £3 million each year to dispose of those items. That’s £3 million that could be going towards supporting important public services.

We are committed to recycling and diverting as much waste as possible, but we can’t do it without your help, so we will be asking households to think about what bin they are using to throw their waste into – recycling bin or rubbish bin?

So as you can imagine, I am delighted that I was sent the email showing from just one person litter that is just discarded and that should be taken home and disposed of properly. I was lucky enough to meet with Hilary and talk to her about how we could make the most of her wonderful collage to help get that message out there.

Thanks to her kind permission, the collage will be on display in County Hall this summer and we’re looking to display it in our other buildings across the county for all to see.

Sadly, it is all too common for us to see our road verges, footpaths, countryside and beaches littered with items such as those in the collage. Often people just discard the sandwich pack, coffee cup or plastic bottle rather than taking it home. They may think it’s easier for them to do that, but in reality it leaves our beautiful coast and countryside a lot messier and these discarded items can pose a real hazard for wildlife.

So our message to everyone this summer and beyond is please ‘Think Before You Throw’ and take your litter away whether you are in your car or on a walk – please take it home and dispose of it responsibly. If you are having a picnic in the countryside,  please pack up what you haven’t eaten or used and take it home as our beautiful outdoors is there for all to enjoy.

Best wishes,

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