LITTER Free Coast and Sea has co-ordinated a coast-wide campaign with most of Dorset’s resort beaches calling for visitors to ‘Slam Dunk the Junk’.
There have been more reports of littering and aggressive behaviour since lockdown measures were eased, so it is hoped that new banners displayed at beaches, including Lyme Regis, and posters for local takeaway food outlets can help.
Litter Free Coast and Sea is a partnership initiative, hosted by Dorset Coast Forum, that has been running since 2012. It has experience in designing effective campaigns based on well-researched behavioural change psychology theory, in conjunction with community groups, landowners and the target audience.
Matilda Manley from Litter Free Coast and Sea explained the theory behind the campaign messaging: “Slam Dunk the Junk is fun and non preachy. No one likes being told of or told what to do, especially at this time when there are so many rules to follow for social distancing, etc.
“We have designed the artwork to be liked by adults and children alike – children are great influencers so if we can get them to like it, they can make sure their parents are following the message!
“Some of the banners use the messaging ‘Most people who visit this beach use the bin or take their litter home. Will you?’ Research shows that people don’t change behaviour based on rational persuasion; they change to conform to those around them.
“People are like sheep; we subconsciously copy what others are doing. This is why we have to highlight all the people that do put their litter in the bin or take it home, not those that do not in our campaign messaging.
“Some of the banners also say ‘We love Weymouth Beach’, for example. This is another technique we want to utilise because it helps builds pride of place.
“By showing visitors to our beaches that there are people here who love it and care for it, research shows that beachgoers will be more inclined to show respect for that beach.
“The campaign was designed with local graphic designer Rowena Taylor, West Bay Community Forum, #5thingsclear, Litter Free coast and Sea volunteers, town councils, beach managers and landowners up and down the coast. It was a real collaborative effort.”
Some Dorset beaches have seen an increase in late night beach use and overflowing bins recently so Litter Free Coast and Sea have designed bin stickers that ask, ‘If this bin is full, please take your litter home’.
When asked about the issue of overflowing bins, Matilda explained: “Many people ask why bins cannot be emptied later in the evenings and we have asked the same questions. The problem is that waste collected has to be delivered to waste transfer stations and these places are not open 24 hours.
“Plus, on most of Dorset’s resort beaches the bins are emptied throughout the day from 6 am to 7 pm so these guys do need to go home and rest at some point!”
For more information on Litter Free Coast and Sea’s campaigns, visit www.litterfreecoastandsea.co.uk