Keynsham is 'no place for litter', campaigners tell retailers

September 01 2017

Waste campaigners in Keynsham have spurred a fast food retailer into action to tackle rubbish spreading from its store within hours of opening its doors.

Waste campaigners in Keynsham have spurred a fast food retailer into action to tackle rubbish spreading from its store within hours of opening its doors.

Some of Subway’s distinctive packaging was spotted discarded in Carpenters Lane on August 4, the same day the new outlet opened, prompting Keynsham Wombles to take to Twitter with pictures of the branded wrapping in the Memorial Park, the High Street, Temple Street, Dapps Hill, Hawthorns Lane and Albert Road.

As a result, bosses at the chain have pledged to speed up the clearing of tables outside its premises at Market Walk and put up notices asking customers to dispose of their waste responsibly. 

Chief Womble Erica Davies said: “We noticed the first Subway litter in Carpenters Lane within five hours of the store opening and so decided to record when and where we see their litter to give us information on the spread of litter from one takeaway store in our town.

“We are not particularly picking on Subway, but because their packaging is distinctive it is easy to identify and gives us information which is useful. We have also been photographing and tweeting our ‘sightings’ linking this to our #noplaceforlitter campaign, and this was picked up by Subway, who are now liaising with us and B&NES on ways to reduce the litter generated by the customers using their outlet.

“Interestingly, it has been quite localised and has included the park, where unfortunately some has been spotted floating off down the river.”

The Subway outlet at Market Walk is the chain’s 2,500th store to open in the UK.

A Subway spokesperson told Keynshamvoice: “As responsible retailers, Subway franchisees work closely with their local communities and have policies in place to ensure waste is disposed of efficiently and recycled where possible. Although our stores work hard to minimise the impact of litter in the community, we rely on individual customers to dispose of their litter responsibly.

“The Keynsham store has bins in place to encourage customers to dispose of waste, however litter is sometimes blown onto the street from the tables in its outside seating area. As a result, the store will be increasing litter patrols within the external seating area and increasing signage on refuse management for staff in order to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

Hoping to dramatically reduce the amount of rubbish dropped in Keynsham’s streets, the Wombles launched their Litter Free Town project – now called #noplaceforlitter – in March. As part of the campaign, the group has been contacting retailers in the town to enlist their help – but with limited success so far, says Erica.

“The Coop was the only national retailer that responded and attended our workshop, while a couple of the local retailers were very interested and are doing their best to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging.” 

As well as encouraging businesses to take steps to ensure their waste doesn’t become litter, the Wombles also say they hope to see firms looking at biodegradable packaging to reduce the impact of items that do end up on the streets or in parks.

“These products are becoming available and the Little Red Coffee Van [at Keynsham Station] is already using them and I understand Costa is running some trials nationally. We would love to hear from other outlets in Keynsham using biodegradable packaging to share experiences of what does and doesn’t work with our networks.”

The #noplaceforlitter campaign was recently awarded funding from the People’s Lottery to help develop Keynsham as a pilot for other towns that would like to adopt the initiative. Projects in the pipeline include #noplaceforlitter ashtrays for Keynsham coffee shops, pubs and restaurants and working with B&NES to create a smoking area in the Market Walk to limit the spread of cigarette butts.

The Wombles have also applied for funding to provide Gum Drop bins for the walkway between Ashton Way car park and the High Street.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the Wombles, which now have 150 volunteers, can email for further details.

The Wombles’ next big litter blitz takes place on Sunday, September 17, from 11am to 1pm, meeting in the gravel car park by the Lock Keeper pub – litter-picking equipment will be available, as well as cake.