Twelve plastic bottles, fifteen crisp packets, two nappies and a folding shovel. Litter picking Move Over Meat style.
It’s World Wildlife day today, celebrating the diversity of the world’s wild flora and fauna but also raising awareness about the dangers it faces from human activities. While there is naturally, and rightly, a huge focus on critically endangered wildlife in exotic habitats, we think it’s also important to consider our impact on wildlife closer to home.
Our packaging is cardboard and widely recyclable, so it can go in your recycling bin when you’re finished. Or you could shred it and compost it at home. The RHS provides some great composting information if you fancy giving your garden a bit of a boost. Even so, given that 65% of litter is from food or drinks packaging1, we want to makes sure we’re minimising the impact of our industry.
We won’t use plastic packaging for our products – so that means we don’t do plastic trays or bags. We’re always working on our packaging and processes to make them as sustainable as possible, but no one is perfect, and we can always improve. We’re doing our small bit to remove some of that food packaging clogging up our green spaces (and any other stuff we find while we’re on).
We sourced some hi vis vests, picked up some litter pickers, briefed the team and we were ready. Apart from one small challenge… If we don’t want to use plastic, what do we put the litter in? Cardboard boxes were out (it was windy and rainy!). A quick chat later and we’ve now stockpiled some recyclable feed sacks from our MD’s pet rescue sheep; Marmalade, Toffee and Strawberry.
Not surprisingly we found a lot of food and drink packaging, including bottles and takeaway cups. Together with empty bags from dogwalkers, and a load of tissues. Strangest find goes to a broken folding shovel. We also came across some used disposable nappies, and weren’t overly keen to pick these up. The guidance from Keep Britain Tidy2 is to leave this to the local council, so we reported them using the Love Clean Streets app3, which makes it super simple to report litter.
Our local green space is Beverley Westwood, an area of common land just outside our East Yorkshire market town. It’s used by dogwalkers, ramblers, model aircraft enthusiasts, kite fliers… the list goes on. But it’s also an area ancient pastureland, which has been daily grazing for free ranging cows for centuries (and they always manage to cross the road slowly when you’re in a hurry). There are a plenty of litter bins on the Westwood, it’s well patrolled by a Pasture Master, and the East Riding of Yorkshire council are brilliant at waste management; topping league tables for Recycling, Reuse and Composting several years running. Yet despite this some litter still builds up, particularly in the more secluded areas.
Our plant based range is helping consumers to make a difference on meal at a time, but it doesn’t stop there. As a small business we’re trying to do our bit, no matter how small. We can’t change the world alone (yet!), so we’ve set ourselves a target this year of litter picking little and often, and we’ll blog about it so you can keep us accountable. Please do stay in touch so we can keep you up to date with what we’re up to, because this is just the start and we’d love you to get involved. Click here to sign up. No spam – guaranteed (it’s not exactly plant based is it).
You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to hear the latest news.
1 DEFRA statistics on litter and littering here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-and-littering-in-england-data-dashboard/litter-and-littering-in-england-2016-to-2017
2 Keep Britain Tidy has some great resources for litter pickers including risk assessments and guides for organisers and participants. It is encouraging everyone to get involved in The Great British Spring Clean this year between 20th March and 13th April https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/
3 LoveCleanStreets is a fantastic app that makes it so simple to report littering, fly tipping, grafitti and other issues. Reports use geotagged photos to quickly and efficiently inform the relevant council – all you have to do is snap and send.
Recycle Now has loads of information about recycling: https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/recycling-around-your-home
The RSPCA offers advice about wild animals affected by litter https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter