Partnership aims to reduce litter in Forest of Dean

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Hubbub and Lucozade Ribena Suntory have unveiled their ‘Trashconverter Van’; a vehicle designed to take action on roadside litter in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

From 15-28 May, the Trashconverter Van is expected to tour the Forest of Dean which is an area that is reported to suffer from high rates of roadside litter. To highlight the issue and nudge positive behaviour, the van accepts trash rather than cash in exchange for food, flowers and hot drinks.

One hundred replica wild flowers made entirely from layby litter will also be displayed (see photo) with the intention of reminding the public what the forest floor should be covered in.

The 'Love Your Forest' initiative will see six different organisations; Hubbub, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Forest of Dean District Council, Foresters Forest, The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association and the Forestry Commission join forces in a collaborative effort "to fight the litter blight".

According to Hubbub, 86% of the public believe dropping litter is an anti-social behaviour, much like driving without a seatbelt or smoking in front of children.

"Yet while those other behaviours have virtually disappeared in recent years, one in five people admit to dropping litter consciously," said Hubbub co-founder and government litter adviser, Trewin Restorick, before adding: "Lay-by litter louts dump 250 tonnes of rubbish each year in the Forest of Dean, some which takes several thousand years to decompose. We are taking the unusual step of swapping rubbish for rewards to promote positive behaviours and encourage everyone to dispose of their litter properly."

The environmental charity said that the top five items collected in the littered laybys that take the longest to decompose are:

  • Plastic bag – over 33 generations to disappear (1000 years)
  • Plastic bottle – 30 generations to disappear (500 years)
  • Beer can – over 6½ generations to disappear (200 years)
  • Plastic ring holder – 3½ generations to disappear (100 years)
  • Crisp packet – 2½ generations to disappear (80 years)1

Hubbub’s last 'Love Your Forest' roadside litter campaign, Communitrees, is reported to have reduced litter by more than 30%.

The Forest of Dean is said to be the first stop on what Hubbub said will hopefully become a national tour for its Trashconverter Van. The charity evaluates all their initiatives to identify which "deliver the greatest impact and then shares recommended approaches and templated resources with other like-minded groups and organisations to amplify impact".

Rachel Capon, contracts manager (collection and street scene), joint waste team at the Forest of Dean District Council, who are working with Hubbub for a second year, said: "This year, the campaign aims to be bigger and better and will raise awareness of litter which issuing dropped by people or thrown out of car windows on our streets and roadsides in towns and villages and across the beautiful green areas of the forest."

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