RECOUP’s litter project uncovers crisp packet from the 90’s



While picking litter, the RECOUP Litter Composition & Pathways Project team discovered a crisp packet with a 1997 expiry date.

The team were picking litter in an industrial area when they found the crisp packet from 1997, which was in surprisingly good condition.

Over two hours, the team collected seven bags of litter, in what was the fifth litter pick carried out as part of the RECOUP project.

RECOUP said the project was created due to the continued concern over litter pollution and the call for better data and evidence to drive effective solutions to reduce it.

The condition of this crisp packet was surprisingly preserved, with little degradation to the packet itself or the ink.

Supported by funding from RECOUP members McDonald’s and Ocado Retail, the project’s primary goal is to review, challenge, and provide robust evidence regarding the composition of litter.

RECOUP said it aims to achieve this by developing a standardised, evidence-based methodology for collecting and analysing litter.

It’s aims are to also create a comprehensive litter composition data set, test the use of AI technology to determine insights such as litter distribution and composition, and understand the difference between terrestrial and riverine litter through the use of a Seabin.

RECOUP said it has organised several litter picks across the Peterborough area with the help of the Peterborough Litter Wombles, covering a mix of location types and deprivation levels, to understand any variations in litter types based on these variables.

As the project progresses, the methodology will be shared with litter groups across the country, RECOUP said.

The project’s aim is to continue building the litter database by covering a larger variety of different location types to make the data as “comprehensive and inclusive” as possible.

RECOUP said it will share the evidence-based insights with government, devolved administrations, and key stakeholders to inform and advise policy decisions.

Laura Hutchings, Projects & Data Manager at RECOUP, commented: “It has been really interesting to see the variety of both new and legacy litter we have been collecting from each litter pick.

“There is an obvious need for highly thought-out, targeted interventions for the prevention of litter, and this project will provide key data and insights to help achieve this.”

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