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Litter costs lives

We receive more than 5,000 calls a year regarding litter. Unfortunately, wildlife is the main victim when it comes to these situations - wild birds in particular. On average we receive 14 calls a day about animals affected by litter and these types of calls spike in the summer months.

Find out what to do if you find an injured wild animal.

As pet owners go directly to vets, and many injured wild animals are never found, it’s estimated that the actual figure of animals injured by litter is much higher.

What you can do to help

Everyday objects can become hazards

Protecting animals from harmful rubbish is easy – dispose of your rubbish responsibly

  1. Recycle and reuse.
  2. Otherwise put it in a bin.


Animals can eat balloons and choke or become impacted. Help protect animals by cutting up balloons before putting them in the bin.

Balloon releases threaten wildlife, even balloons marked as degradable may take a number of weeks to degrade but it only takes a second for an animal to swallow a balloon. Read more about the effect of Balloon releases (PDF 520KB).

Chinese lanterns

Chinese lanterns , also known as sky lanterns, can seriously injure animals. Read more about the damage Chinese lanterns can do and the alternatives we suggest.

Hedgehog trapped in litter © RSPCA


Containers and cans

Animals looking for food can get trapped in cans or injured by sharp edges. To help prevent this clean and empty containers, pinch cans shut and cut containers in half and recycle whenever possible.

Elastic bands

These can wrap around small animals and beaks of birds. If swallowed they can cause choking. Reuse bands when possible or cut them open before putting in a bin.

Fishing tackle

Fishing litter is responsible for the injury of thousands of wild animals every year. Animals can get entangled in line and hooks which can pierce skin or be swallowed.

Read our top tips for anglers and help promote responsible fishing.

Fox cub with head trapped in a jar during rescue © RSPCA


Broken glass can cause serious injury and animals can get trapped in jars. Be sure to clean and recycle glass to help prevent injuries.

Plastic bags

Animals can climb inside plastic bags and suffocate, or eat them and choke. Simply tying a knot in the top of plastic bags before recycling can help prevent deaths.

Plastic can holders

Animals can get entangled in plastic can holders, and suffer deep wounds or choke. Help prevent suffering by cutting the loops before recycling.  


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