Litter mapping

Published: 10 June 2022

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have launched a joint litter mapping project aimed at identifying where and what type of items are littered, this information will then be used to target those areas. 
The summer-long survey, which launches today, asks litter pickers to record the location and types of litter either online using the online survey here or by post using a set number of criteria - available on the councils' websites.

Litter is defined as any item left out in public which should have been put in a bin. While the results from litter pickers might include some surprise items (a recent litter pick in Drayton St Leonard unearthed a Victorian Bovril bottle) the survey includes categories for the most commonly-littered items including:

  • Bagged dog poo
  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Cigarette butts
  • Food items
  • Fast food packaging
  • Face masks and disposable gloves

When results are collated later this year, then littering in the districts can be more accurately mapped and the information passed on to the councils’ envirocrime team to ensure those areas are regularly patrolled. In addition, the councils’ waste team can use the mapping to increase awareness among communities of any litter issues in their areas. The project results can also feed into the ongoing review of litter bins in the districts.

Cllr Sue Cooper, Cabinet Member for environment, climate change and nature recovery at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We would always encourage people to take their litter home or put it in a bin so items can be disposed of safely. Most litter takes a long time to decompose – even food items.

"We know litter is a concern for many of us and we are so grateful to those who take it upon themselves to litter pick. Litter is also expensive for the councils to clear up, so they are looking at new ways to help improve the issue.”

Councillor Sally Povolotsky, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “There are a great number of people who already improve our environment by taking part in litter picks. If they can take part in this survey too then this will help pinpoint more accurately where and what type of litter is being left. This means the councils can target those areas which need improvement most.”

More information is available here

The litter mapping survey will run until 30 September.