Is the Royal Mail the nation’s top littered?
“Unfortunately, a lot of postal workers have got into the bad habit of flinging the rubber bands onto the pavement instead of collecting them and reusing them. That’s terrible for our environment.”
“Every street has a rubber band on it – have a look around and it won’t take you long to find one.” – Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall
If you take a close look at the pavements up and down the UK, you might notice that they are littered with rubber bands – but where on earth are they coming from? According to Business Waste, the culprit is possibly the local postie, as the Royal Mail use rubber bands to group letters together in their sorting offices prior to their being delivered.
The UK-based waste collection company notes that the number of rubber bands thrown on the ground around the UK is in the millions, which according to them, makes the Royal Mail one of the nation’s biggest litterers.
With each postie doing the rounds six days a week delivering to every single street in the UK, Business Waste has estimated how many elastic bands are being used by the Royal Mail each year.
A freedom of information request spills the beans that nearly 1 billion rubber bands are purchased by the company per annum. Only a proportion of this billion go out on rounds, and we have to assume that there are as many litter-conscious postal workers as there are who drop rubber bands. So the statists at the company reckon that as many as 250 million lines our streets every single year.
“Imagine how many more are being bought each year, especially as we have even more houses and entire estates that have been built – and more houses means more rubber bands for the postie” – Adam Bailey from rubbish removal company Divert.co.uk
So just how bad are these elastic bands for the environment? Rubber bands take up to 50 years to biodegrade and can be incredibly harmful to the environment as well as local wildlife – posing a hazard to birds in particular who mistake them for worms.
If burned they can release carcinogenic pollution into the atmosphere.
“We have to take a stand and stop the Royal Mail from littering our streets on a daily basis and causing so much harm to our wildlife.
“It’s time for them to do away with rubber bands and find an environmentally alternative.” – Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall
One man from Merseyside spent 6 years collecting 10,000 elastic bands dropped by posties, and in 2018 made them all into a rubber band ball which he claimed was the same size as his head.
The Royal Mail does seem to be aware of the problem, and in a statement have said that they have switched to biodegradable bands and try to reuse as many as possible, but for Business Waste this isn’t enough to stop the harm being done to wildlife and the environment.
“Even the most conscientious postal worker will drop bands at some point, so why not completely do away with them altogether?”
“The Royal Mail need to be held accountable for the amount of rubber bands they are littering on our streets – so maybe if you find them on your road you should do them a favour and pop them into a post-box and send them back.” – Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall