Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council want a clean town. Through the ‘Love Where You Live’ initiative, they are hoping to encourage residents to keep the streets litter free and enjoy living in a clean town. They will do this by handing out vouchers to McDonald’s – to a demographic where one in four people are clinically obese.
Most of us are law abiding citizens who feel that it is not only our civic duty, but also just a case of good manners to put our rubbish in a bin or shove it into a pocket or bag, instead of dropping it on the floor. We look at people who do litter in a disapproving way and ‘tsk’ under our breath. Maybe we envisage the ill-informed ‘loutish’ teenager as a common perpetrator, but in all fairness, it’s just as likely to be a well-respected sort who can’t be bothered to find a bin and just lets that dirty napkin drop from their hand whilst hurrying along.
So the council have devised a way to ‘treat’ the residents for good behaviour. For every person seen putting rubbish into a bin, he/she will be handed a voucher for McDonald’s. Although the vouchers are only for free drinks, it is likely that whilst in there, some of the fat laden food will also be purchased.
The council have defended their reward scheme by saying that McDonald’s had to be ‘part of the solution’ as their waste contributes to that seen on the streets along with the likes of cigarette butts and chewing gum. Phil Beddoes, head of waste at the council, wanted the campaign to be ‘effective and innovative’, but many have been outraged by even the suggestion of it.
The irony of the solution is this; the council will be spending man hours (money) giving out the vouchers to the citizens that would probably have put the rubbish in the bin in the first place. They will likely still spend the same amount of time and resources (money) on cleaning the streets. The council is then giving these vouchers to a probable quarter people who are overweight which may well lead to more medical issues (money) or hear an outcry that the children need to be educated on the benefits of healthy eating (money).
Maybe not the best use of their time, but a worthy cause none-the-less.