Litter that has not been discarded properly into recycling or rubbish bins is a growing problem and with the lack of action from government and corporates, there is a growing collection socially minded people who have stepped up to the plate to take action against this growing crisis.
Recent research has indicated that nearly two thirds of rubbish that is not discarded properly in Manchester and throughout the UK comes from only 12 corporations, with Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Walkers right at the top of these rankings.
It is estimated that more than 2 million items of rubbish are dropped or improperly discarded daily, that is 730million pieces of litter which is dropped every year.
Community litter picking groups using platforms like Facebook have been popping up in abundance since lockdown with memberships to such groups doubling in size over the last year. Many solo pickers, dog walkers and families are also joining the cause and litter picking when out and about.
“The rise in popularity of litter picking has been clear to see over the last couple of years” says Harry Dennis, CEO of Waterhaul. “We make litter grabbers made from both recycled fishing nets and disposable face masks along with a range of other recycled litter picking equipment and we’ve seen a large increase in demand for all products across the range.”
Photography By Paul David Smith
This growing trend of litter pickers are often raising awareness of the subject by sharing their activities on social media which in turn recruits and encourages other people to get involved. These activities are often videoed or photographed with the end haul of litter being shown to demonstrate just how much litter had been collected in a single session.
Lyra, a 7 year old litter picker from Bristol told us: “I started litter picking when on my way to school I saw so much litter being dropped in my favourite place Manor Woods. I’ve got all my school friends involved in litter picking because whilst one person can make a difference, they cannot travel the whole world and pick up all the litter. I want other people to get involved as together we can make a huge difference.”
There is growing evidence that everybody’s efforts are actually working with every piece of litter that is picked up and discarded of correctly often being recycled into new products and materials. More importantly however is that growing educational impact that is happening on social media, nothing makes people think more about dropping litter than when they see their own friends and family making the effort to clean it up.