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Despite the best efforts of street cleaners and organisations like Keep Britain Tidy, litter continues to be a costly problem across the UK. Here, Keep Britain Tidy explain the importance of clearing up unsightly litter, and share more information on their ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign.

Every year it costs taxpayers the best part of £1billion to keep our streets clean. That is a phenomenal amount of money which most people would agree could be better spent elsewhere.

So what could £1billion buy for our country? It could pay for more than 30,000 NHS nurses or buy one billion free school dinners, fund almost 4,500 libraries or put more than 300,000 children through primary school, all valuable and beneficial investments that could impact many people’s lives.

There are about 2.25 million pieces of litter dropped on the streets in the UK every day. Thirty million tons of rubbish is collected from England’s streets each year. That’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium four times over.

Since 2001, Keep Britain Tidy has carried out an annual survey on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The latest findings showed that certain types of litter have increased (survey carried out from 2014/15), including fast-food and snack packaging, plastic bags and cigarette-related litter.

Litter is unsightly, it ruins the look of any space, but the problem isn’t just about the mess it creates, litter impacts more than just the aesthetics of an area. It affects wildlife, streets, countryside, and our sense of pride.

Litter not only makes an area look unloved, but it has a detrimental effect on our communities as a whole. It is the first sign of decay – if we don’t care about litter, we are unlikely to care about other environmental issues that impact negatively on our lives and society. This has a knock-on effect; lack of care reduces property prices, increases the fear of crime in an area and impacts economic development.

Keep Britain Tidy is one of the nation’s leading environmental charities. Our goal is to reduce litter, improve local places and prevent waste. We do this by working with businesses, schools, communities, individuals, government – local and national – and other charities and voluntary organisations. We use a wide variety of inspiring training, research and campaigns to raise awareness and provide solutions.

A campaign we are excited to be involved in is Clean for The Queen. Keep Britain Tidy are working with Country Life magazine to encourage as many volunteers as possible to clean-up Britain to help celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, which will be officially celebrated in June.

The aim is to attract one million volunteers across the country to take part in a special clean-up weekend on the 4-6th March. Clean for The Queen is designed to get everyone

involved – individuals, groups, schools, companies, sports teams – whoever wants to clean-up their areas and improve where we live.

In 1953, the year of The Queen’s Coronation, the first ever litter campaign was held, but of course back then, litter was not the problem it has become today. So it seems fitting that another clean-up is held in her honour 62 years after she came to the throne.

If you or a group you are involved in are interested in taking part in Clean for The Queen, all you have to do is register on You will find advice, hints and tips on how to join a group or simply get involved.

Keep Britain Tidy has produced special edition equipment to support with your event. There are bags, litter pickers, gloves and cleaning equipment which are all available here for a small charge. There are also posters for you to be able to advertise your event which are free to download here.

If every adult picked up one piece of litter and disposed of it correctly, that would be more than 50 million pieces of litter off our streets, parks and green spaces. Just imagine how much better our country could look if we all did our bit to help keep Britain tidy. Tomorrow’s Cleaning February 2016 33

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