As one part of its Clean Streets Sutton campaign, Sutton Council is introduce cigarette ballot bins outside pubs where smokers can vote on topical issues including as who is the best superhero, Batman or Superman?
The initiative has also signed up local businesses to pledge to commitments to reduce waste, keep their businesses tidy and work with the council to improve the cleanliness of the local area.
Sutton Council and said that with its partner Hubbub, a behaviour change charity, it will set up entertaining and thought-provoking activities involving residents and borough schools to increase community awareness of waste problems.
The campaign is being funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
According to the council it collects more than eight tonnes of litter every day - over 3000 tonnes per year. It is hoped the campaign will help to reduce litter and save the taxpayer some of the £3m a year that is spent clearing up waste.
The idea behind thee initiative is that small changes in behaviour can make a big difference. For example, the council noted the Local Government Association’s assertion that the average price of clearing up each piece of gum off pavement is £1.50 – 50 times as much as the gum costs to buy.
The Clean Streets Sutton activities, which will run over six weeks, include:
- Cigarette ballot bins outside pubs where smokers can vote on topical issues including as who is the best superhero, Batman or Superman; who would make a better James Bond and will Leicester City win the Premier League
- Covering the hoardings in front of Times Square Shopping Centre with an image gallery of business people and residents holding signs supporting the campaign
- Installing brightly-coloured bins in the High Street to see if they entice more people to use them over traditional bins
- Outlining each piece of trodden-in chewing gum with brightly-coloured chalk to create a visual display that will highlight the scale of gum litter on our streets
- Trail the use of ‘Gum Drop’ bins, where used chewing gum is collected and recycled into useful items such as rulers and gumboots.
The campaign also includes a schools programme in which more than 1000 young people in Sutton Grammar, Greenshaw High School, Glenthorne High School and Wilson’s will watch anti-litter assemblies to educate and inform them.
Greenshaw High School is also to be a pilot school to promote the campaign through lunchtime activities on Tuesday 22 March including:
- Trash converters, where actors dressed as refuse collectors exchange litter in the playground for prizes such as recycled material stationery
- Gum-chalking activity, where chalk used to highlight chewing gum litter
- Litter basketball
- Voting bins, where students put litter in particular bins to choose their answer to a question.
The council said that the approach builds on Hubbub’s successful Neat Streets campaign last year that cut littering in Villiers Street, Westminster by 26%.
Hubbub is said to be bringing that thinking, combined with observational research about the habits of people who drop litter in Sutton, to reduce the amount of litter dropped, which in turn will mean the council will save some of the money it costs to keep the streets clean.
Councilor Jill Whitehead, chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council commented:
“Clean Streets Sutton is about using the latest thinking about behaviour change to try to alter the habits of people who litter, and help educate others as to the benefits of a cleaner, safer and more inviting environment.
“It will also help to save the taxpayer money as the everyday costs of cleaning up chewing gum, cigarette butts, fly-tipping and litter really add up. At a time when our budgets are being severely cut, any savings can make a big difference.
“Clean Streets Sutton will help us work towards our ambitious One Planet Sutton goals to reduce waste and pollution, and create a more sustainable borough.”
Trewin Restorick, CEO/founder of Hubbub said:
“The voting bin is a simple solution that has provoked an incredibly positive response. We’ve had requests from around the world for the bin with many countries wondering how they can change the questions to reflect their country’s culture and interests. So we have taken the plunge and are now scaling up production so that we can sell the bins to tackle the issue of litter in a fun and engaging way.”
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