Elastic bands littering the streets of our study area

Paul Sawer

Having spent a lot of time patrolling the streets of our field work study area, we've started to notice a problem. An elastic band problem.

They appear to be everywhere! In just the past few weeks my pocket has been getting progressively wetter and muddier as we have been plucking these from the street, away from all those hedgehogs emerging from hibernation, and to which they pose a bit of a hazard!

Today I decided it was time to empty the pocket and count how many we had found so far…a grand total of 81. This obviously isn’t a new issue – there have been several petitions in the past few years with regards to littered elastic bands, the Royal Mail, and the negative impact these bits of litter can have on wildlife, including hedgehogs!

Rubber bands can injure or even kill hedgehogs, and although I’m sure no-one drops them on purpose, it is something we should all be a bit more careful about. The Royal Mail do have guidance it provides to it’s workers on the matter, which you can see here, but a chat to the local sorting office might be useful too. This is an example of a hedgehog hazard that can be easily reduced by the actions of the individual, much like the creation of hedgehog fence holes and wild areas in our gardens. Collectively, we can make a positive impact!

Elastic bands from study area