Scheme aims to cut littering in Ashfield

A technique developed in Denmark is being tried out in Sutton in a bid to reduce the amount of litter, dog waste and cigarettes dropped on the ground

The theory behind the technique is that you can nudge people to behave in certain ways by using clear reminders.

As a result, footprints have appeared leading to some waste bins, plain black bins have been replaced by brightly coloured ones in some locations and stickers saying what can be put in them have also been used.

Ashfield Community Safety Partnership is funding the trial, with bins on Mansfield Road, at the skatepark and at Sutton Lawn having the changes made to them.

Although the foot and paw prints have only just been added, the colour change and adding of stickers to the bins, both to increase awareness of them, was carried out a few weeks ago.

Trevor Middleton, lead environment officer at Ashfield District Council who is running the project, said: “The work has included placing stickers on some bins which simply say “Litter and dog bags”. These have prompted people to say that we didn’t have dog waste bins, and it has enabled us to explain that all bins in Ashfield are dual purpose.

“Provided dog waste is in tightly tied bags then it can be put into any litter bin the district,” he explained.

Over the coming weeks Trevor will be monitoring the amount of litter, dog waste and cigarette ends placed in the changed bins to see if the nudge tactics are working. It has proved a successful way of reducing littering in Copenhagen in Denmark.

Roskilde University did a study in 2011 where they handed out chocolates and then counted the number of wrappers on the street.  The areas with the footprints that led to the bins had a huge 46% decrease in wrappers ending up on the streets!

Marsha Mann, Community Safety Officer with Ashfield Community Safety Partnership added: “Littering and dog fouling are forms of anti-social behaviour and ones about which many complaints are made.

“The nudge technique has proved successful elsewhere and we hope it works in Sutton.”