It’s a shame when well-intended organisations working toward the same goals end up butting heads instead. But in the case of Keep Britain Tidy versus the British Retail Consortium, the BRC is right: the key message we should be sending citizens today is, “Recycle what you can,” not, “Toss away your trash.”
Not to belittle an anti-litter campaign, but the logo accompanying Keep Britain Tidy and Defra’s campaign does — as the BRC notes — miss the point. Preventing litter is a noble goal, but illustrating the only solution as a waste bin is, in the BRC’s words, “a message that belongs to another age.” Recycling is, without a doubt, preferable to what the anti-litter logo depicts: a crumpled piece of paper (obviously recyclable) being tossed away.
Of course, there’s an admitted dose of self-interest in the BRC’s admonishment: it recommends that companies instead promote recycling through its own On-Pack Recycling Label. The little catch there? Taking the BRC labelling route costs £700 a year. (Plenty of firms, so far, have shown themselves willing to pay that, among them Boots, Kingfisher Group, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s.)
The obvious verdict in this little dispute? Why not an anti-Judgment of Solomon campaign in which, rather than splitting the baby, the two offspring — one anti-litter, the other pro-recycling — are joined? A “Toss it if you must, but first consider recycling” message might be less clever and catchy, but isn’t that really the goal all the parties involved here?
Back to the drawing board with both of you, we say.