Almost £500,000 is to be awarded to community projects to tackle the blight of littering, the environment minister has announced.
The money will support the development of new approaches to tackling litter, from behavioural research to digital technology. This could include apps and ‘smart-bins’ that send alerts to rubbish collectors when they are full, stopping litter from spilling out or leading people to dump rubbish nearby.
Cleaning up litter costs the taxpayer almost £800 million a year yet one in five people admits to having dropped rubbish. The Litter Innovation Fund will be open to local authorities, community groups, charities, educational institutions and small and medium enterprises.
Thérèse Coffey, the environment minister, said: “Tackling the litter is an important part of our drive to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. I pay tribute to those who help clear up our pavements and verges.
“The Litter Innovation Fund offers a great opportunity for the most creative solutions to littering to receive funding and for us all to learn new ways of how to stop littering happening. Ten per cent of the fund is entirely dedicated to preventing marine litter, a growing problem with global consequences for our precious marine environment.
“I encourage groups to get involved and showcase the wealth of options there are out there to tackle littering. Let’s help people make the right choices.”
Keep Britain Tidy welcomed the fund’s launch. Its chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “Innovation is vital if we are to change the behaviour of the minority of people who still think it is OK to drop their rubbish on the ground for someone else to pick up.
“Keep Britain Tidy’s Centre for Social Innovation was created to develop and test new approaches to behaviour change and we are delighted to see the government has recognised the importance of innovation to tackle the blight of littering in our country.”
Information for applicants to the Litter Innovation Fund can be found on WRAP’s website.