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Welcome to the Litter page.

Litter can be described as ‘rubbish that is in the wrong place’ and can be anything from a cigarette butt to a burnt out car. It can be food, chewing gum, syringes, crisp packets, plastic bags and banana skins – in fact, any item left by a person that should not be there. The rise in the amount of packaged and fast foods we are buying is making this problem worse as people simply throw away their containers once they have eaten the contents. Natural matter such as weeds, or leaves that have fallen from trees, are not classed as litter. Litter can take a very long time to degrade (rot away), or may never degrade at all. It is unsightly and potentially dangerous to people and wildlife – it is a form of pollution.

How long does it stick around? The amount of time that litter stays around once it has been dropped depends on what it is made from. If it is made from a substance that was once living it will eventually degrade. Otherwise, it will never really disappear. Fruit waste such as apple cores or banana skins will take up to two years to rot away. A rolled up newspaper can take up to 10 years to rot away. Supermarket plastic bags can last between 10 and 20 years and will slowly break up into small pieces, but even these never really go away. Nappies will probably last for 100 years or more, and some parts will never rot away. Glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, plastic trays, yoghurt pots, etc will NEVER EVER rot away.

Litter harms wildlife Every year animal and wildlife charities such as the RSPCA and RSPB rescue and treat animals that have been trapped and injured by carelessly disposed of rubbish. There are all sorts of ways in which wildlife can be harmed by litter. 

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