Littering types

I am always fascinated by the reasons why people drop litter. Many people I talk to tend to ascribe just one motive to everyone “It’s anger”, says one; “it’s laziness”, says another; “it’s lack of education”, says someone else. Who is right ?

Well, Keep Britain Tidy has researched this issue a number of times over the last few years and they have devised 6 labels for the various types of litterer that give a clue as to why they litter.
The ironically-titled Beautifully Behaved, for instance, don’t really think they are littering at all – they drop apple cores, fruit peel and small pieces of paper. Of course, you and I know that those items really do count as litter (except if you are discarding an apple core into a countryside hedge for the local wildlife to finish off).

The Guilty know full well what they are doing – when they can’t be bothered to find a bin, they hide their drink can in a drain pipe or scrunch their crisp packet up into a small knot and thrust it into a crevice.

On the other hand, the Blamer is angry and blames the council for the lack of bins while dropping their litter.

The Justifier thinks a bit harder and concludes that, well, everyone else litters so why shouldn’t I ?

The Life’s Too Short litterer tends to be younger – they know that littering is wrong but they have other priorities in their lives other than making the effort to get to a bin.

Finally, and much the most difficult one to influence, is the Am I Bothered ? (we owe Catherine Tate a debt of gratitude for the title).

I do think that those 6 labels pretty much cover all motivations to litter – or can you think of any more ? Keep Britain Tidy didn’t do this categorisation just for fun – they also suggested that the various remedies available should be matched to the type of litterer e.g. to stop the Blamer blaming, you need to ensure that there are enough bins around.

So it was with some amusement that I came across an alternative litterer classification which I think was devised by Australia’s Beverage Industry Environment Council for a campaign aimed at getting the message across to young children. They came up with 8 different types of litterbug.

So let’s meet the Foul Shooting Litterbug – their aim isn’t good and when they throw their litter towards a bin and when it misses, they just walk away.

How about the Clean Sweeping Litterbug ? They arrive at a table where others have left their rubbish and sweep the leftovers onto the floor.

And then there’s the Flagrant Flinging Litterbug – they simply fling their litter through the air or drop it, without a care in the world.

The 90%ing Litterbug isn’t very good at finishing the job – they put most of their rubbish into the bin but some of it never completes the journey and is dropped and left where it lies.

The Wedging Litterbug is very much the Guilty litterer – they stuff pieces of litter into the gaps between seats on public transport and in other covert places.

Now for smokers – many of these are Grinding Litterbugs. They grind their cigarette butts into the ground.

Have you ever seen an Inching Litterbug – they leave their litter and then slowly move away from it.

Finally, the gloriously-named Undertaking Litterbug. They bury their litter, often in the sand on the beach.

So what does this all tell us ? Well, for a start that there is more than one way that you can look at littering. And I would also suggest that giving labels to the different types not only increases our understanding and awareness of littering (and may help to suggest how to deal with each type) – it also makes it more fun and more interesting, especially for younger people.

And have you got your own labels that you give to different types of litterer ? If so, do let us know by leaving a comment below.

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