NEW RESEARCH: 1 in 5 BRITS ADMIT TO LITTERING McDonald’s survey reveals those responsible and asks them to be accountable




McDonald’s survey reveals those responsible and asks them to be accountable

· 1-in-5 Brits admit to being part of the litter issue, dropping it in the street (44%), in the park (23%) and in rural areas (21%) in the last 3 months

· Over a third of 18-25 year-old’s admit to throwing rubbish, citing it was to appear ‘cool’ (16%). Whilst over 55’s ‘Dislike those who litter’ despite 17% being part of the problem

· A fifth of 26-40 year old’s have littered in front of their children

· McDonald’s partnering with litter organisations and local authorities to clamp down as it is revealed McDonald’s employees collectively travel 5,000 miles a week collecting irresponsibly dropped litter

As lockdown measures lift, images across the country have shown a sharp increase in the prevalence of litter. After a significant rise in sightings of McDonald’s packaging irresponsibly discarded in parks and towns across the UK and Ireland, the company has joined councils, litter groups and other businesses in urging people to take responsibility for their own rubbish in a new campaign. Alarming new research showed as many as one in five Brits (21%) have littered in lockdown, and over the last three months, with almost half (47%) of 18-25 year old’s admitting to dumping rubbish in streets, in parks and rural areas at some point.

Young adults (18-34 yr olds) were some of the worst offenders having confessed to throwing waste out of car windows (9%), leaving packaging after a BBQ or picnic (10%), and finding excuses such as not being able to time to find a bin (12%). In fact, one-in-five (19%) litterers refuse to carry their rubbish around with them. Almost all over 55’s (99%) say they dislike those who litter, even though some 17% admit to doing so.

Aimed at confronting personal responsibility, the campaign features the slogan ‘Get in the Bin’ usually used for someone who is talking rubbish. But with over-a-third of Brits (34%) calling out a stranger for littering, McDonald’s UK is asking everyone to make a stand and Get in the Bin.

Beth Hart, Vice President Supply Chain and Brant Trust, McDonald’s UK and Ireland said: “For over 35 years our restaurant teams have patrolled the towns and cities in which we operate collecting left behind litter. Our employees walk over 5,000 miles every week picking up all waste – our packaging and that of other retailers – by the sides of roads, in parks and on paths. It is deeply disappointing that so many people act so irresponsibly. Over the last few months we have seen how important collective responsibility is and we want the Great British public to help us tackle this dreadful and growing problem. Most of our packaging is recyclable, and whilst our dining areas remain closed, we want to see all customers taking their litter home and recycling or disposing of it responsibly.”

Across the UK and Ireland, McDonald’s staff collect 27 tonnes of litter every year, on litter patrols that take place around every restaurant three times a day, covering a total of 5,000 miles each week (where they collect litter from any origin, not just their own).  McDonald’s volunteers also take part in larger-scale litter events including over 240 in 2019 for the Great British Spring Clean.

The campaign will use social media, media partnerships and support from Governing bodies and litter groups to call out irresponsible litterers. A series of social adverts showcasing what life would be like if litter took over the world of the young adult featuring ‘perfect’ social media scenarios, computer games, football pitches and dating apps strewn with litter to highlight the refusal to deal with refuse.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:

“Littering spoils our towns and countryside, harms wildlife and is a real risk to human health. I am firmly committed to clamping down on littering and we’re already taking bold action to do so.

“It is great to see companies like McDonald’s stepping up to play their part in what needs to be a nationwide effort to keep our country clean.”

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said:

“We all need to pull together to make our outdoor spaces cleaner and safer.  It is not good enough to expect somebody else to pick up the rubbish that you create. Do the right thing – put your rubbish in a bin or take it home with you.”

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful said:

“We welcome the efforts that McDonald’s are taking to raise the profile of the unacceptable littering behaviour we are seeing across the country and encourage their customers to dispose of litter responsibly.   Littering is unacceptable at any time, but especially now, during a health pandemic. Our message is simple – put your litter in the bin or take it home.”

Arnold Dillon, Director of Retail Ireland at Ibec said:

 “Retail Ireland is delighted to support McDonald's and the 'Get In The Bin' campaign. It's no secret that litter can have a hugely negative impact on cities, towns, villages and the countryside. It is up to all of us, as businesses and citizens, to do what we can to encourage people to dispose of waste responsibly for the benefit of everyone in our community. “

For more information on McDonald’s UK sustainability  please visit


Notes to Editor

Survey size: 2,000 nationally representative UK adults aged 18-65, 23rd-26th June 2020, OPINIUM RESEARCH


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