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Keep Britain Tidy and Council working together to reduce fly-tipping

Published: Friday, 8th October 2021

Keep Britain Tidy has begun work with Birmingham City Council to tackle fly-tipping and reduce recycling contamination.

A waste worker investgating flytipping which has been covered with crime scene-type tape
Picture courtesy of Newham Council

Elements of the new work programme to be delivered over 2021–2022 include:

  • Delivery of proven behavioural interventions from Keep Britain Tidy’s Fly-Tipping Reduction Programme in target locations across Birmingham
  • Design and pilot of a new programme to tackle recycling contamination using insights from Inside the Head of the Contaminator research conducted by Keep Britain Tidy in 2020 in partnership with nine councils
  • Update the information we provide to residents, using the latest insights into litter, fly-tipping and recycling contamination.

The two behavioural interventions are as follows:

Crime Scene Investigation Tape – An intervention that involves placing high-vis CSI-style tape and stickers on fly-tips and leaving them in situ for a fixed period before removal to counter the expectation that fly-tips will be collected quickly and without repercussions in addition to the perception that fly-tipping is low impact and socially acceptable.

Social Impact Stencils – An intervention that see spots where fly-tipping has been cleared being stencilled with messages about the fact resources are drawn away from the community when spent on clearing fly-tipping and to show that fly-tips haven’t just disappeared.

They are both based on a recent pilot in the London Borough of Newham, which saw fly-tipping cut by up to 73 per cent in pilot areas. Even after the trials were completed, the amount of fly-tipping in pilot areas was still more than 50 per cent lower on average than pre-intervention levels.

And given the fact that 26.8 per cent of recycling presented by residents of Birmingham in August 2021 had to be rejected at the waste plant as contaminated (not suitable for recycling), the council will be working with Keep Britain Tidy on shaping projects and ideas to increase recycling rates locally.

Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks at Birmingham City Council, said: “We know that our shared environment and the way we deal with litter and waste is hugely important to the people of Birmingham.

“That’s why we are open to innovation, bold ideas and learning from best practice elsewhere. We are committed to doing everything possible to deliver cleaner, greener, streets and are looking forward to utilising the experience and knowhow of a respected organisation like Keep Britain Tidy.”

The entire package of work forms part of Birmingham City Council’s wider Cleaner Greener Streets programme. In recognition of the fact that clean streets are consistently listed as a top priority of residents, the council announced a further £7.2 million would be invested into a range of initiatives in the current financial year, including this partnership with Keep Britain Tidy.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Birmingham City Council to take an evidence-based approach to tackling fly-tipping and recycling contamination.  

“Working together, we have designed a bespoke programme that takes advantage of Keep Britain Tidy’s research insights, expertise in behavioural insights and delivery of interventions. Everything we are doing together is about creating scalable and lasting solutions for Birmingham City Council that can achieve results into the future."

Background notes

Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity that cares for the environment on your doorstep. We work to eliminate littering, reduce waste and improve public space. We run programmes including Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, our programmes and campaigns visit www.keepbritaintidy.org.

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