Council bids to print McDonald’s customer car number plates on wrappers

Council chiefs are mulling printing customer’s car registration details on fast food packaging in a bid to tackle littering.

Chris Howell, Swansea Council’s head of waste, parks and cleansing, admits there are drawbacks to the scheme but thinks it could help curtail littering by identifying those responsible.

Keep Britain Tidy estimates that two million pieces of rubbish are dropped every day across the UK, which equates to 23 items of rubbish being dropped every second, at a £1bn cost to the taxpayer every year to cover the cost of street cleaning.

Mr Howell, speaking at a climate change corporate delivery committee meeting, said: "The Welsh Government has explored with McDonald’s, or their franchises, whether or not they could print number plates of cars collecting takeaways from their drive throughs with a view that that would discourage people from discarding their materials (litter)."

However, he admitted which fast-food companies would "go first" with such an initiative could cause issues. He said: "If McDonald’s do it, then people will just go to Burger King instead of McDonald’s, because nobody wants to have their private details printed on that packaging.

“I think it’s a really good idea but at the minute it’s fraught with some difficulties”, Wales Online reported him saying.

Two years ago, Plaid Cymru launched a petition calling on Welsh Government to make it compulsory for fast food outlets with drive-through facilities to print car number plates on all packaging so that litter can be traced.

Plaid Cymru MS and Shadow Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Llyr Gruffydd said at the time: “It seems that fast food and littering tends to go hand in hand, and we need long term solutions to tackling this issue.

“One innovative suggestion being pursued in a petition by a Plaid Cymru branch is that fast food outlets print customer number plates on packaging in order to discourage littering. This is exactly the kind of creative thinking we need to start a wider discussion about how both businesses and consumers can take greater responsibility for preventing litter.”