back to article Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

Rubbish activists have reportedly put anti-littering signs up in the West Midlands calling trash bandits "fools" whose parents still tidy up after them. The taunting signs have been reported springing up in the village of Ansley by BBC radio Coventry and Warwickshire. 3 mystery signs have appeared in Ansley to tackle …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Technological approach:

    The face and number plate of a McDonald's Drive-Thru customers are printed on the burger packaging at times of purchase. If said customer doesn't dispose of their rubbish responsibly they'll be easy to hunt down.

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    The face and number plate of a McDonald's Drive-Thru customers are printed on the burger packaging at times of purchase. If said customer doesn't dispose of their rubbish responsibly they'll be easy to hunt down.

    Also for any takeaway place.

  3. m0rt Silver badge

    @Dave126

    That is, quite literally, brilliant.

    Even a barcode that is tracable to the franchise and try to at least putting in a traceable path of accountability .

    Have a small fine for every piece of litter linked to that franchise that encourages them to push back to customers to encourage more social behaviour.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Dave126

    "Even a barcode that is tracable to the franchise and try to at least putting in a traceable path of accountability"

    A great deal of stuff in the UK foodchain (and probably elsewhere) is now marked at the 'manufacturers' with something that is to all intents and purposes a "serial number" specific to that that box, that batch, that bottle, whatever. In the right circumstances the serial number presumably could also be used to record which wholesalers, retailers, etc were involved in handling a particular set of boxes, bottles, etc.

    Apply that information for a slightly different purpose and follow it through the supply chain and in principle you can work out which retailers are repeatedly facilitating anti-social behaviour (or worse).

    Apparently not a particularly new idea:

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/tag-every-bottle-of-alcohol-to-trace-adults-who-supply-child-drinkers-1-1523300 (2010)

  5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Isn't this the kind of use-case we're all told Blockchain will shine in?

  6. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Coat

    Around here...

    The farmers already use Block Chain technology to stop fly tipping on their land. Driveways are protected by big blocks of concrete and big chains.

    Mines the one with sweet wrappers, tissues and receipts that go in the bin when I get home/see one on the street!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The flaw in this, and I'm surprised at you lot but this is a Friday, is that the identifying marks are still on the wrappers even after you've disposed of them properly. Should the bin get knocked over, escape whilst being moved from recepticle to transport, fly away in the wind at the recycling plant/tip etc, you would still be fingered for it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, the real flaw is I will no longer have plausible deniability for the macdonalds wrappers in the back of my car... 'We had a team lunch' won't wash anymore...

  9. tfb Silver badge

    Re: @Dave126

    Put a unique ID on the packaging, take a picture of the person doing the transaction for that packaging (CCTV in the store does this bit almost for free).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Around here...

    "[...] that go in the bin when I get home/see one on the street!"

    that go in the bin when I get home/see one not already overflowing on the street!

    FTFY

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Dave126

    That is, quite literally, brilliant.

    Right, so you propose an end to privacy for burger munchers, and a national database that will in practical terms identify their eating habits, movements, all added to the existing CCTV surveillance, just to address the problem of littering? All very well saying that this only goes back to the burger outlet, you know that's bollocks. Although I'm all in favour of vendors taking responsibility for the subsequent actions of their customers - my car dealer should have to pay any speeding, parking or other motoring fines I get.

    Meanwhile, over in today's "GCHQ want to spy on us all" thread, numerous people are complaining that GCHQ's and police desires to track the conversation of suspected terrorists and serious criminals threatens the general public's liberties. And likewise, when councils use surveillance powers to catch the owners who don't clear up their dogshit, there's an outcry.

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Re: @Dave126

    Big Brother is watching and reaching out more and more. All in all, it's just another brick in the wall isn't it.

  13. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    @Dave 126,

    I'd suggest that, rather than try to track the individual customer, that the fast-food places be obligated to prove (by whatever means they like) that X% of their sales transactions have the packaging disposed of properly. Obviously, 100% would be an impossibly high target, but even a relatively low figure (say, 30%) would, I feel, force businesses to be proactive about rubbish collection so they could point at all the stuff they've collected as part of their target! Plus it would encourage the businesses to offer reusable serving materials, because those would be sales-without-packaging, so a "free" point on the scale.

    And then you could slowly ramp the target up, and possibly use local council licensing to maintain a range of targets depending on location, so that black spots for litter would have higher standards until they're cleaned up.

    A side benefit is that it would likely result in the fast food chains employing people to pick up trash, so they could meet their rubbish-collection targets as well as their profit targets.

    Enforcement could be via local taxes: exceeding the target demonstrates social responsibility, so naturally that business is more valuable to the community and deserves to pay lower taxes, while missed targets label the company as a drain on society, deserving of higher taxes.

  14. m0rt Silver badge

    @AC

    "Right, so you propose an end to privacy for burger munchers, and a national database that will in practical terms identify their eating habits, movements, all added to the existing CCTV surveillance, just to address the problem of littering?"

    No.

    This is why I modded it to have a barcode that linked it back to the franchise. But the principle is about accountability.

    We don't need car dealerships paying speeding fines because - guess what? Cars have an identifying mark known as a registration plate, linking them to the owner so therefore no need to fine dealerships.

    This was a sensible discussion. Keep it such and keep the hyperbolic outrage down a little.

    Kthnxbai!

  15. The Nazz Silver badge

    re Dave 126

    Yep, brilliant idea.

    Now all we need are Police forces who care a toss.

    "Can i report some littering, McDonalds wrappers thrown, by a fat bird, out of a moving vehicle by a fat lass, of which i took a note of the the registration plate?"

    "Hmmm, a fat bird you say, you're nicked sonny jim."

  16. werdsmith Silver badge

    The problem with tracing dumped rubbish is that the dumpers know about the tracing and will steal personal details from the correctly disposed rubbish of others to include in their dumping. This diverts the simplistic investigation that might be done. Wastes times, throws people off.

    Even if you are disposing properly in your collected rubbish, make sure there is no ID on anything.

    Now, I will go and get my McDonalds takeaway, complete with personalised packaging, remove the identifying parts of the packaging and chuck the rest down the street.

    Next.

  17. LucreLout Silver badge

    The face and number plate of a McDonald's Drive-Thru customers are printed on the burger packaging at times of purchase.

    That, Sir, is absolute genius. Even the most hard of thinking chav will preumably recognise their own mugshot on the wrapper.

    Perhaps this could be linked to a publicly available and uptodate register of addresses, and also print their address onto the wrapper. That way if it turns up in your garden, you may return it to them.

  18. LucreLout Silver badge

    Re: @Dave126

    Have a small fine for every piece of litter linked to that franchise that encourages them to push back to customers to encourage more social behaviour.

    Good idea - fine both the customer and the vendor. That way the vendors will eventually bar irresponsible customers, so even if the fines go unpaid (don't they all when on welfare), there's still an incentive not to be untidy scum.

  19. LucreLout Silver badge

    Should the bin get knocked over, escape whilst being moved from recepticle to transport, fly away in the wind at the recycling plant/tip etc, you would still be fingered for it.

    Well, yes, but it would still be MY rubbish. As it'd only be a proportionate fine and an extremely rare occurrance, I think I could live with it. The window of opportunity for a bin incident is small, if we round up to 1% of disposals result in a bin problem, I'd have to eat drive thru McDs on average twice a week to get fined once per year.

  20. LucreLout Silver badge

    Re: @Dave126

    Right, so you propose an end to privacy for burger munchers, and a national database that will in practical terms identify their eating habits, movements, all added to the existing CCTV surveillance, just to address the problem of littering?

    Between ANPR, your mobile phone, and your VISA history, they already have that data. There is literally no new data added in the mix, save potentially what you ordered, and I presume McDs know that already.

    There's no new privacy invasion here - you already freely give that data to the state now. Of course, if you walk there without your phone and pay by cash you might have a point, but you'll still be able to do that with the face printing anyway. Just take your rubbish home and burn it - no DNA, fingerprints, or facial images left behind.

  21. werdsmith Silver badge

    That, Sir, is absolute genius. Even the most hard of thinking chav will preumably recognise their own mugshot on the wrapper.

    Even the thickest chav is capable of removing the identifying parts of the packaging before chucking the rest over your garden fence. It's not much of an idea when thought through.

  22. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    It's not much of an idea when thought through.

    true its over thought technical solution. What proportion of litter are mcdonalds responsible for? youd have to tag all packing and everything in the packaging!

    Better to make it more socially outrageous than it is now - like the sign in the article.

  23. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    But with the scourge of fly-tipping being what it is, it's probably worth a go. Perhaps someone in Doncaster, Southampton or Sunderland will put one up with the added option of "I am a lily-livered landlubber" to address their problems with dumped boats on the roads.

    Excellent!

  24. The Nazz Silver badge

    I'm looking forward to the signs they use in Scunthorpe.

  25. m0rt Silver badge

    "But with the scourge of fly-tipping being what it is"

    Not just about fly tipping. It is general litter which is a massive problem in the UK. I live on the edges of a very picturesque part of Wales. One particular cycle to Bala I remember being struck by the sheer amount of litter in the verges for, quite literally, miles.

    Another episode, whilst motorcycling through Snowdonia, a complete cock throwing his empty sandwich box out of his white BMW in a known beauty spot.

    And I guess we are fairly familiar with the pile of McDonalds litter that seems some people are too good to have sitting in their car until they go to a bin.

    Do we collectively have so little regard, not just for the land we live on, but ourselves, to think that this is any way to act?

  26. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Do we collectively have so little regard, not just for the land we live on, but ourselves, to think that this is any way to act?

    "Me first and don't give a fuck about anything else" is trendy nowadays. The consumer culture led to egotism being the norm... "because I deserve it"

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Partly and a bit of parents not instilling in their kids to not litter. It's not difficult, you either leave it in your car till you go to the supermarket or home (there are plenty of bins especially the one directly outside supermarkets) and anything else can go in your pocket or a bag till you get home or pass a bin (nearly every bus stop and outside a shop has a bin). Maybe they should also teach it in schools if they don't anymore.

    The McDonalds problem is partly down to overflowing bins outside but what incentive do the staff have to empty the bins when they are targeted on sales though this is no excuse for those littering.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A little bit of nature.

    I do blame it a little bit on companies moving from paper/string/paties as food wrapping, and using plastic and foil and glass. These things don't biodegrade. However, even the stuff that does don't need throwing at me/you/our gardens/the path we walk on!

  29. tfb Silver badge

    This is not the worst of it. People who drop litter obviously just are not thinking about anything but themselves. But there are worse people: people who dutifuly pick up and bag their dog's shit and then throw the bags into hedges or the road later, leaving people like me who pick up litter to get a really lovely surprise. People who do that are not just being careless: they're being consciously evil.

  30. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "People who drop litter obviously just are not thinking about anything but themselves."

    FTFY

  31. Glen 1 Bronze badge

    Do we collectively have so little regard, not just for the land we live on, but ourselves, to think that this is any way to act?

    "Me first and don't give a fuck about anything else" is trendy nowadays. The consumer culture led to egotism being the norm... "because I deserve it"

    **********

    How else can we explain Brexit?

  32. werdsmith Silver badge

    It's less than 10% of people that make 95% of litter. If you've ever tried talking to a person who throws litters down in the street, they really don't get what the problem is. They don't see it like the rest of us at all, to them it's a trivial thing and someone else will pick it up and that gives them a job.

    But, if the 90% of clean people picked up and binned 2 items of litter on every trip out, litter would be hugely reduced. I do it.

    I've just returned from a month in Germany and I had to look hard to find litter.

  33. Herring`

    I seem to remember

    that the characteristically blunt Aussies had a public information campaign against littering with the slogan "don't be a tosser". This, I like.

  34. Symon Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: I seem to remember

    Yep. I went to the (old) MCG once and saw the Richmond Tigers. They were sponsored by the Australian anti-drink&drive campaign. The players shirts had 'Drink Drive Bloody Idiot' on the back. Sadly, I think the sponsorship ended when a bloody idiot player got pissed up on booze and crashed his vehicle. A bit like Alastair Burnett and his 'Police, camera, action' road safety TV shows. He was subsequently banned from driving for 23 months and fined £3000 after being arrested, charged and convicted of drink driving because he crashed into a hedge and telegraph pole while 3 times over the drink drive limit.

  35. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    If you're going to put up a sign...

    ...do what this outstanding young lad did:

    I had a commute that took me through the kind of community that has a very low speed limit in the middle and derives a large portion of its municipal revenue using radar guns. One beautiful morning there was a young teen with a hand-painted sign "DANGER! ROOKIE COP WITH RADAR 1/2 MILE".

    Eventually he put out a tip jar. I paid handsomely, one must reward good enterprise and all that.

  36. sabroni Silver badge

    Re: If you're going to put up a sign...

    Or, you know, drive under the speed limit.

    Still, I expect you had some mcDonald's wrappers you needed to chuck out of your window.

  37. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Re: If you're going to put up a sign...

    Nahh, I never eat and drive. It interferes with my drinking.

    Real litter problem around here are massive 18-wheeler garbage haulers shipping waste from the paradise of New York City into my fly-over county for dumping. The law says these loads must be covered and of course they are not, and they leave a vast swath of filth in their path. Those of us who care and try to keep our community clean cannot possibly keep up.

    Coppers cannot be bothered to do a damn thing about it. Can see the patrol cars speeding along - doing 20 over - and ignoring a rolling fountain of crap in front of them.

    But drive 5 over just after the speed limit drops from 55 to 25 ... you know, right after the hidden sign ... and you've got a court summons. F$cking pathetic wankers.

  38. Andytug

    Re: If you're going to put up a sign...

    In the UK that would probably earn the lad a fine for interfering with police in the cause of their duties, or some such. Same has happened to people flashing their lights at other motorists to warn of imminent speed traps.

  39. Fred Dibnah

    Re: If you're going to put up a sign...

    What’s a ‘speed trap’?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mommy

    Mom is a West Midlandsism.

  41. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Re: Mommy

    Ar.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Mommy

    You can always tell a Brummie.... (but you can't tell 'im much)

  43. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Re: Mommy

    Mom is a West Midlandsism.

    Brummie maybe, not all of the West Midlands. I grew up in the West Midlands and said "Mum". Mind you, my mother was from the Home Counties.

  44. Glen 1 Bronze badge

    Re: Mommy

    When I were a lad:

    If you used the word "Mum" around these parts, you've just outed yourself as not from around here.

    You possibly did Latin at school. Best mates with Mr Cholmondley Warner etc.

    All would be forgivable (although the target of much merriment), as long as you didn't admit to being a Tory. Labour heartland and all that.

  45. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Re: Mommy

    Paaah. We use "Mater", or "mother, dearest" when being informal!

  46. PhilBuk

    Re: Mommy

    In the bit of Midlands that I grew up in - it was Mam.

    Phil.

  47. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Another design approach:

    Many cars have cup holders, but none have an integrated rubbish bin. The absence of such a bin ( I'm imagining a compartment by the passenger footwell that pulls out in the same fashion as a glovebox) is absolutely no excuse for littering, but it can't hurt to design a car to make good behaviour more convenient.

  48. David 132 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: Another design approach:

    Good idea, but wouldn't help some people. Ever browsed reddit.com/r/carbage? Some people are just slobs.

    I was driving up the A41 towards Whitchurch some years ago, following a Land Cruiser. The knobheads in it were throwing out a piece of trash about every 50 yards. Cups, crisp packets, cigarettes... disgusting. Hanging's definitely too good for morons like that.

  49. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Re: Another design approach:

    I made one of those in my first car (a Citroen GSA estate if you want to know). I screwed the lid of an ice cream tub to the side of the centre console in the passenger footwell, snapped the tub into place, made a rubbish sized hole in the top et voila, my own bin. Tended to be full of fag packets and crisp bags.

  50. Chris 125

    Re: Another design approach:

    My employer gives me a car so small that the rear seats are pretty much useless if you have adults in the front. Hence any litter is dealt with by flinging it over your shoulder. Twice a year I simply open both back doors and push all the rubbish front one side into a bag tucked under the seat the other side.

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