The European Litter Prevention Association

The Litter Challenge

The phenomenon of litter has existed for some time. Today, our increasingly mobile lifestyles significantly increase the risk of individuals deliberately, carelessly or accidentally discarding something in the urban or rural environment that should have been disposed of responsibly using the established waste management systems.

This social behaviour is particularly challenging to tackle owing to the variety of contexts, places and situations in which it occurs: on the streets, on beaches, in parks, in the schoolyard, at events; by individuals, families, groups of friends; at night time, during the day, at work, at play...

Litter occurs any time someone decides to dispose of something no longer needed by simply abandoning it on the way to somewhere else, disregarding the social or environmental impact of that action. It can also happen as an act of vandalism. Whether the best approach to preventingthis behaviour is by targeting specific cases or by addressing the scourge of litter in general is also something that needs to be considered.

Litter also occurs if waste management systems do not work effectively. The problem can be exacerbated if municipal cleaning activities are sub-optimal or, even, absent.