One of the major problems of our consumer society is the amount of waste we produce. When it comes to take-away food, there is the dual problem of excessive packaging and litter. The number of people who eat their burgers, drink their coffee and then throw the containers and wrappers on the streets, or in our parks is astonishing. But what is also astonishing is the amount of packaging used. It takes most people about 5 minutes to eat a take-away burger, so why wrap it in serviettes then a bag, then a box and then another bag? Perhaps take-aways see it as a form of advertising to have their names adorning our pavements, parks and hedgerows?
Eastover Councillor Glen Burrows and Town Council Leader Brian Smedley recently took a walk along Watson’s Lane, East Quay, The Clink and Church Street, to identify the sources of bottles, cans, bags and wrappers discarded there. Top of the poll was McDonalds, next came Costa , followed by Happy Shopper and Greggs. There’s no prize for the winner! The heroes are our street collectors, employed by Sedgemoor District Council, who start work at 5.30am, so that we can at least wake up to a litter-free world. But they also need our help. So what can we do to clean up our environment?
Firstly, of course, we can stop dropping litter. Many people do it without thinking, so sometimes all they need is a friendly reminder. Take-aways could make a point of asking their customers to use the bins provided. Although bins aren’t always provided!
EVERY DAY IS A RED LITTER DAY!
At the end of Church Street, for example, is a low wall which is a favourite spot for munching McDonalds. Walk through early on a Sunday morning and you have to find your way through a forest ( and that’s another story!) of wrapping, cardboard and cans.
LITTER IS FOR PIGS!
The council needs to carry out an audit of where bins are most needed. In some cases, retailers could be asked to provide bins outside their premises, as a good-will gesture! But most of all, we need to tackle the problems of excessive packaging, single-use plastic and a throw-away society. How about a discount to McDonalds customers who provide their own re-usable containers for food and drink? Could schools be involved in a campaign to keep Bridgwater streets litter-free? Any more ideas?