Support the annual Great British Spring Clean
The results are in for the 2023 Great British Spring Clean with.. over 400,000 bags of litter pledged!
The National Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean is an annual event, usually in March, where individuals, groups or schools, simply pledge to pick litter in their areas and following basic guidance can get out and about to collect the litter pledged.
If you missed it, don’t worry as many fantastic volunteers already litter pick every day of the year. If you want to join them see our Quick guide to litter picking below.
The more historic litter we can remove, the easier the job gets, and the more natural our environment becomes for the benefit of all.
Feel good, litter pick
The easiest way to get involved is to join the many people who already litter pick when out and about. Leaving somewhere cleaner than you found it is very rewarding in the fight-back against littering. Picking up litter makes you feel good, shows ‘litterers’ people do care, encourages others to join in, and may even be a deterrent to those that litter. However, always put safety first in where, and what you pick up.
When picking litter, it is only items made by humans that we want collected such as tins, cans and bottles. Natural logs and rocks are important habitats and should remain undisturbed.
To add more excitement, you could try using the LitterLotto app (13yrs+) which is a free to enter prize draw, just for using a bin.
If you want to do more, you could set up a litter picking group, join an existing group or meet for a planned event such as a beach clean.
Do I need equipment?
Not necessarily. If you simply pick up the odd piece of litter which catches your eye when out and about you will be joining many other like minded individuals who routinely pick litter as they go and pop it in the nearest bin or recycle it.
If you want to take part in a more organised event then litter picking equipment will be helpful/needed. Contact your local authority in the first instance who usually have equipment available to borrow, and at the same time you will be able to register your litter pick with them so they can arrange to collect the litter if needed. See our quick guide below for more information.
If you are feeling resourceful, you could even make your own litter picker! (follow the ‘make your own litter picker‘ link from North Devon’s website)
What do I do with the litter collected?
Small amounts of litter can be put into street litter bins, but please don’t fill them or there will be no room for other litter. For new and clean items such as cans, plastic or glass bottles, you could also use your household collection containers which also means that these can be recycled, but please don’t pick up hazardous or fly tipped items which should always be reported to your local authority.
For larger amounts of litter or bigger litter picking events on public land, let your local authority know before you litter pick for advice about what to do with the waste collected. Often local authorities are very appreciative and will arrange for the drop-off or collection of the litter collected.
Unless specified, litter and fly tipping cannot be taken to Recycling Centres due to the type and quality of litter usually collected. Historic litter can impact on otherwise good quality recycling collected at these sites, or include dog waste or other unpleasant items which the sites are not usually licenced to manage, as well as being a health and safety risk for staff. It is likely you will be turned away from these sites unless by prior arrangement so discuss with your Local Authority before you pick.
On private land, you will need the landowners permission and they will also need to arrange the disposal of any waste collected themselves.