Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:07 UK

Charity posts back rubber bands

Ball of rubber bands [Pic: Sandra Laird]
These rubber bands were collected and photographed by Sandra Laird

They may not seem as offensive as dog dirt, cigarette butts or chewing gum but red rubber bands have stretched the patience of anti-litter campaigners.

The charity Keep Britain Tidy called on people to collect up bands dropped by postal workers after a survey claimed they were found on 6% of UK streets.

Some 13,000 of them were handed in as part of its Big Tidy Up campaign.

Now the charity plans to hand them back to Royal Mail in a giant envelope outside its London headquarters.

In April, it warned postal workers they were not above the law and could face on-the-spot fines of £80 for littering by dropping the bands.

It had identified the problem through its Local Environment Quality Survey, which records what litter is found on 19,000 streets across England each year.

It warned the bands could be dangerous to animals, if swallowed, and called on the Royal Mail to tackle the issue by telling workers to put the bands in their pockets.

The Royal Mail says it regularly stresses to staff that they should avoid litter and that the vast majority of the bands it uses - amounting to millions each week - are re-used.

Meanwhile, Sandra Laird in Edinburgh sent a photograph of discarded rubber bands collected near her home to the BBC News website.

She says she lives near a drop off point for her local postman and there are always elastic bands lying around, which her children collect.

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