As Wombles well know, litter in our towns is not only unsightly and hazardous but can also damage ecosystems in our parks and green spaces. Councils in England spend around £700m a year cleaning litter, so to do our bit to help clean up our neighbourhood, the staff and Principals at Hillier Hopkins run litter-picks. Since we started we’ve collected around 150 bags of refuse and recycling (plus numerous abandoned bike frames!) from parkland, playing fields and pavements around our offices in Watford, Milton Keynes and London.
Litter-picks help engage our team in our Environmental Policy and our initiatives to improve our impact on the world. They are easy to organise, benefit the local community and have positive impact on staff well-being. We wholeheartedly recommend other businesses or individuals consider organising litter picks, so here are our top tips:
- Local knowledge helps in knowing where the litter blackspots are. It’s worthwhile checking there isn’t already a local group looking after your chosen location.
- Use black bags for general rubbish and see-through bags for recyclables (cans, bottles, plastic, card). We each collect a full bag of recycling and one of refuse in a 2-hour litter pick.
- Contact your local council refuse and recycling team to tell them where you are doing your litter pick and to arrange collection of your bags.
- You’ll need to provide your team with equipment, it cost us approximately £80 for 12 litter pickers, hi-vis vests and thick gloves, however, you can often borrow kits from your local council (although you will still need to provide gloves). Recommend your team wear sensible footwear and weather appropriate clothing.
- Check your insurance covers your employees for this activity and carry out a risk assessment – there are plenty of templates and helpful advice online.