The litter in a town centre street was allowed to build up to highlight how much is dropped every day and the cost of picking it up.
One side of Church Street in Wellingborough was left uncleaned last weekend, while the other side was cleaned.
The litter soon piled up and included bus tickets, fast food wrappers, cigarette packets, cans and bottles.
The experiment was part of a ‘Which side of the fence?’ campaign run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, along with Wellingborough Council, to highlight the problem of littering.
Litter costs almost £1bn a year to deal with in England.
More than £100,000 a year is spent in Wellingborough just on picking up rubbish from the ground.
Wellingborough Council’s community committee Peter Morrall chairman said: “People don’t realise just how much litter is picked up every day from the streets of our town and villages, and, more importantly, the huge cost of this.
It’s only because we spend more than £100,000 every year cleaning up after people that we’re not knee deep in rubbish.
“We need people to see the harsh reality of what happens when a place is not cleaned up for them.
“We want them to think about the ways in which the money it costs to pick up dropped litter could be better spent.
“Living and working in a pleasant and clean environment is incredibly important, but the way to achieve that is not for councils to spend money picking up after people, but instead for people not to drop the litter in the first place.
“It’s not fair that so much taxpayers’ money is spent on something that could be so easily prevented.
“It’s time for people to decide which side of the fence they are on, and if they want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Phil Barton said: “The answer to solving the litter problem is in our own hands.
“We need to take responsibility for our own behaviour and do one simple thing – put our rubbish in a bin.”