A Clean Sweep sets out a series of measures to help prevent litter. The report focuses on using financial and other incentives to deter littering behaviour and encourage product innovation to make commonly littered items less problematic.

The key measures proposed in A Clean Sweep are:

  • Levies on chewing gum and cigarettes to ensure that clean-up costs are borne by the users of these products rather than the public at large. The levy would be reduced if monitoring revealed a decline in the littering of these items.
  • Extension of the proposed charge on single use carrier bags in England to remove the exemptions for biodegradable or paper bags.
  • A similar charge on all single use cups, such as coffee cups, to encourage uptake of reusable cups.
  • A deposit refund scheme on beverage containers such as bottles and cans to incentivise their responsible disposal.
  • Establishing networks of water fountains in town centres to reduce the need for people to buy bottled and canned drinks.
  • Greater use of existing local authority powers to include appropriate litter-prevention measures within the license conditions of traders such as pubs and clubs, sellers of late night food, event organisers and drink and street traders.

The measures advocated in the report would bring about improved environmental outcomes at a lower overall cost than simply cleaning up after litter has been dropped. They would refocus the costs of cleaning up litter away from the general Council Tax payer, and on to the users of frequently littered items. The benefits of a reduction in littering would be shared across society, by all those who would rather see our town centres and open spaces free from the bags, butts, burger boxes and bottles that blight them.

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