Is it ‘Litter’, or is it ‘Rubbish’?

By Dave Peddie | August 20 2019

Is it ‘Litter’, or is it ‘Rubbish’?

Blog Category: General updateBlog Tags: Biodiversity and Sharing Economy

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    Words have different meanings to different people in differing situations. Whilst doing a recent May Bank Holiday ‘litter’ pick I approaching a group of 6 teenage girls sitting on the sand and simple asked, ‘got any litter for my bag?’ [clearly seeing the litter around them]

    ‘No, don’t think so’, replied one girl looking round, yet sitting within an arm’s reach of her empty polystyrene takeaway tray.

    I pointed it out….

    ‘Oh that?’ she exclaimed, and picked it up and popped it in my bag. Then the other girls seemed to understand, picking up another polystyrene takeaway tray and three empty glass bottles and contributed to my bag.

    This got me thinking that it would clearly seem the words, ‘Litter’ and ‘Rubbish’ are two different concepts. ‘Litter’ probably meaning paper blowing around (or similar) and ‘Rubbish’ the more horrible stuff.

    Is this why, when we refer to putting your litter in a bin, or taking your litter home, the message doesn’t get through to folks. Do we need to simply start calling it ‘Rubbish’, the horrible stuff, to help people understand what we are talking about? I think that maybe we do.

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Dave Peddie