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Government plans to improve the quality of our public spaces took a ...
Government plans to improve the quality of our public spaces took a

step forward today as local environmental quality minister Alun

Michael launched a consultation aimed at reducing fast food litter.

Fast food operators, local authorities, major land owners,

enforcement agencies and other interested parties have until 30

January 2004 to contribute their views on the proposed Voluntary Code

of Best Environmental Practice for the fast food industry.

Speaking at the launch in London's Leicester Square Mr Michael


'There is clear evidence that fast food littering is on the increase.

The problem starts if any of us says 'If other people don't care why

should I care?', and that applies to both individuals and to the


'We want to work with the industry and the community to turn this

around. As a former youth worker I believe that young people are also

a part of the solution. Our proposed code of practice gives an

outline on how we might work together to make sustained improvements,

which will have a direct impact on our local environments and quality

of life. The code will be good news for the public, fast food

operators and local authorities. Ultimately its aim is to make public

spaces cleaner and safer to visit, live in and work in.'

The draft code has been designed to enable fast food operators,

together with local authorities, to reduce litter and waste without

significant extra cost to the industry.

It gives practical advice on how to keep within the law and

encourages creative thinking around the issues of litter management,

using examples of existing good practice, like the Eat Neat campaign

in Stoke. A code of practice was developed, centred around good waste

management, food hygiene and clearing the outside of premises at the

close of business, which successfully reduced fast food littering

within Stoke's city centre areas.

Fast food producers have responded constructi vely.

Jessica Sansom, environmental manager at McDonald's, commented:

'Improving the environmental quality of our public spaces impacts

directly on people's quality of life and the way they feel about

their community. As a responsible business operating in communities

across the UK we are always looking for ways to engage and promote

effective and workable environmental practices. We are keen to

support programmes such as these and welcome the opportunity to

provide relevant, useful feedback to Defra, whilst instigating

positive change at a local level.'

A spokesperson for KFC said:

'We are proud to be involved in Defra's initiative to reduce litter

and waste in the local environment. While we cannot be held

responsible for what our customers do with their rubbish an hour

after they have left our restaurant, we go to great lengths to be

part of litter initiatives such as regular patrols and bin


Jane Bickerstaffe, director of INCPEN, the Industry Council for

Packaging and the Environment, said:

'INCPEN welcomes and supports the government'scommitment to tackle

litter. While the ultimate solution is to change public attitudes and

behaviour so that littering becomes socially unacceptable, this Code

is a useful step in the right direction. In addition, industry - both

as individual companies and through INCPEN - will continue to

initiate and support anti-litter projects, educational programmes and

research into litter and littering behaviour.'

Peter Davis, director general of the British Plastics Federation

(BPF) and a director and trustee of ENCAMS, who run the Keep Britain

Tidy campaign, said:

'The BPF welcomes the publication of this consultation document, with

a voluntary code of practice developed by ENCAMS, because it directly

seeks to change the anti-social behaviour which causes fast food

littering. The BPF will be responding positively to the consultation.

One of ou r member companies LINPAC was involved in drawing up the

draft code.'


1. ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns) have been commissioned by Defra

to develop a voluntary code of best environmental practice for the fast food industry.

2. As part of this work, ENCAMS analysed the current situation

regarding fast food litter and waste, legislation and good practice.

ENCAMS reported back with detailed findings from their programme of

research which informed the development of a voluntary code of best environmental practice for the fast food industry. This enabled

ENCAMS to provide, for the first time, an agreed definition of fast

food litter, a classification of fast food operators, and an analysis

of the potential for segregation and minimisation of waste by these


3. Recent research carried out by ENCAMS found there had been an

increase of 12% over the last year in incidents of fast food litter

(from 2001/02 to 2002/03). Research shows that this type of litter

has also become more widespread. For more information visit the

ENCAMS website at

4. Copies of the consultation document are available on Defra's websiteand in hard copy form from Defra Publications, Admail 6000, London SW1A 2XX (t) 0845 95556000 (f) 020 8957 5012 (e) by quoting

reference PB8600.

5. The British Plastics Federation represents 350 companies in the

Plastics Industry, including packaging manufacturers and raw material


Click herefor Keep Britain Tidy's reaction.

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