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Clean communities

The sustainable solution to littering presents an opportunity for ethical businesses
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Clean communities

This article first appeared in our Love issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 09 April 2021. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

The public flocked to green, open spaces when the nation went into lockdown.

This was necessary for our mental health in an uncertain time, but the surge in visits to local beauty spots – alongside 3.2 million new lockdown pets – also brought a rise in littering and dog fouling.

Dog poo litter has increased by 200% since the beginning of lockdown.

Eco Green Communities is tackling this problem with an innovative business model that involves support from the community, local authorities and businesses. It provides free 100% compostable waste bags and dispensing stations to promote responsible dog ownership and curb the ‘littering epidemic’ in local beauty spots.

CSR for local businesses

The stations offer a unique sponsorship opportunity for businesses. They are positioned in strategic outdoor areas, placed so passers-by can stop, think and absorb the
messaging without the usual noise.

The advertising lasts a minimum of 12 months, making it a unique and cost-effective offer for a sponsor.

It is also an opportunity for companies to boost their CSR (corporate social responsibility) by directly giving back to their local community. They can demonstrate a commitment to improving the planet and the lives of the people on it.

Community support

The free bags dispensed from the stations help communities to take responsibility for their public space.

Eco Green Communities is also building an online eco community, with forums that support the community and local litter-picking groups. The goal is to engage, educate and empower people to do the right thing.

For every project it works on, Eco Green Communities provides trees to help the community preserve and protect the local area. The trees, which will sequester carbon for years to come, represent a direct investment in the future.

Local authorities

Prosecution for dog fouling and littering is labour intensive and difficult to enforce. The stations offer local authorities and councils a practical and effective way to take control of the litter crisis.

To date, 790 stations have been installed through 28 council partnerships, with an impressive total of 1,625,000 compostable (zero-plastic) bags dispensed.

With the costs of bag replacement covered by business sponsors, there is no longer any excuse for allowing a pet to foul in a public open space.

Cllr Andrew Harvey from West Suffolk district council said: ‘since installing the stations we have had a lot of requests for more stations to be installed by members of the public.’ He added that all the stations installed had been ‘very well used’.

Changing behaviour

The stations benefit the community, local authorities and councils, while offering businesses an opportunity for smart ethical advertising.

At the same time the certified compostable bags present a solution in the fight against single-use plastics.

This business model really is a win-win for the community and the planet.

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