Part of being eco-friendly at home is also about looking after our living environment both when we are at home and when we are out and about, on day trips and on holiday. A great way to do this is to litter pick (wherever you go).
Litter is a problem all over the UK with litter gathering in streets, on verges, playgrounds, the park, the beach, rivers / canal sides and car parks. And when you do litter pick, it’s amazing what you can gather in such a short time. I know that when it’s been very windy and after ‘bin day’ I can go into a local street location and pick up at least 1 pedal bin bag worth.
Local areas can organise litter picks, which are great for the community and getting to know the neighbours (and of course, the environment) as particularly rivers and canal sides will choke if rubbish builds up.
You will need gloves, litter pickers, bag hoops and high vis vests for your litter pick. Make sure that you pick in pairs and that someone else knows where you are at all times. Set a start and finish time and make a real occasion of this. Recycle rubbish that you find where you can and register the event on one of the national websites.
Picking litter keeps you fit and gets you outdoors too, you will feel a great sense of achievement afterwards! There is information here on Keep Britain Tidy on how you can organise a litter pick in your area.
There are some great examples on the internet of ‘local litter heroes’ as it’s everybody’s responsibility in this day and age.
Long-term litter-picker, Ken Read (83), who for many years has patrolled Dover streets, spends time picking up litter in Harold St, Taswell St, and the area surrounding Dover Castle coach park, areas he regularly clears, often resulting in two full bags of rubbish being collected which, he said, is;
“Indicative of the blatant disregard people are still showing about keeping their own environment clean”. He is sometimes told “that’s not your job”! and is of the view that social responsibility seems almost moribund now but adds “I do live in hope that more people will take up the cudgel”.
As we’ve mentioned earlier in this blog post, and as we’ve spoken about before on the blog, litter on the beach is a big problem. Take a look at the table below, this is how long it takes for varying pieces of little to break down once they reach the sea.
Polystyrene drinks cup – 50 years
Cigarette butt – 1 – 5 years
Aluminium drinks can – 200 years
Plastic bottle – 450 years
Some beach location cafes will often provide buckets and will give you a complimentary cup of coffee in return.
Here’s an example in Bournmouth. It’s more about the litter pick than the freebie but it’s nice to have something to work for! We were also at a conference ‘on’ Brighton beach recently and a pre conf beach litter comb was part of the warm-up activities. It was most enjoyed!