Friday 22 May 2015


There's something strange going on in Villiers Street, in the heart of London. And it might just change the way we think about a big urban problem.
Litter is one thing we humans are really good at creating. It just seems to appear, wherever we are (or, in some cases, in places where we've never been seen: take the phenomenon of ocean plastic). The thing is, half the time we don't even realise we're leaving it. It just seems to be there, and there's not much we can do about it.
Well, that's rubbish. And patently untrue. All it takes is a little education and positive reinforcement to keep Britain tidy. Which is why our pals at Hubbub are doing a little thought experiment in Villiers Street, near Charing Cross, to help people keep it a little cleaner and neater. Hence the hashtag: #neatstreets.
Would you want to drop litter on Julien's street? Course you wouldn't!
There's some clever stuff going on here. Empathy is part of the mix: if you care about somewhere, you're less likely to mess it up. So Hubbub are putting up posters featuring the guys and girls that work in the area, tying a place to a face. There's humour involved too: one of the bins on Villiers Street will belch and munch when it's fed on your rubbish.
How about the sticky issue of chewing gum, which seems to be a permanent fixture on our streets, under tables in pubs and restarants, on the soles of our shoes...? Well, here Hubbub have teamed up with Gumdrop, an initiative seeking to recycle old gum into new products like coffee cups and wellies. After all, chewing gum is effectively just flavoured rubber. Using Gumdrops-On-The-Go, a neat solution to what you do with the stuff once it's lost its minty freshness, the hope is to cut right back on the grey spackling that dots every paving slab in the city and do something useful with it.
Don't drop it... Gumdrop it!

It's a fascinating experiment, and here at the Pier we'll be intrigued to see what comes of it. Could this be the first street that leads the way to a cleaner capital?
For more on Hubbub and #neatstreets, check the link:

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