The countless tonnes of litter which lay scattered along the sides of our highways and byways is a constant source of frustration and anger for grey nomads and other travellers.
However, while everybody agrees there is a problem, there is little consensus about the most effective solution. More rest area bins, more regular bin collections, more traveller education… at various times at various locations all of these ‘fixes’ have been tried. While they may have helped to varying degrees, there is little doubt that the overall scale of the litter problem remains just as overwhelming as it ever was.
Australia, of course, is not alone in its rubbish crisis. And perhaps it can look overseas for more innovative ideas to tidy up the issue.
In the UK, they are certainly thinking outside the square. Presumably under the impression that driver laziness is a key part of the issue, Highways England has just placed several funnel-shaped orange bins at Lymm services on the M6 in Cheshire. The idea is that drivers will simply wind down their windows and lob their litter into 50-centimetre wide funnels.
Ten other service stations have apparently also been identified as the next locations for the funnel bins. There will be two types of bins at key service stations at window height – one for cars and a taller one for truckies.
The funnel bin rollout comes after a successful trial at Winchester services on the M3 in Hampshire where the amount of rubbish dumped by drivers fell by 25%.
A Highways England spokesman said: “The funnel bins make it easier for drivers to dispose of their litter responsibly without the need to get out of their vehicle.”
However, the new orange funnel bins have been dismissed as a ‘cheap gimmick’ by Litter campaign groups like Clean Up Britain, which says they will reward loutish behaviour and encourage motorists to throw rubbish in as they drive by.
“We are trying to stop people from throwing things out of car windows and this is encouraging them to do just that,” said Clean Up Britain founder, John Read. “Highways England has a duty to ensure miles of motorway are kept clean and they’re not doing their job.”