Council Launches ‘Love Your Park’ Anti-litter Campaign
- 'Love your Park' aims to encourage people to put litter in the bin or take it home – and will promote three quick ways to report full bins for emptying.
- The increase in litter in Reading's parks last year compared to the year before was roughly equivalent to 75 bull elephants or 250 cars!
READING Council is launching a new anti-littering campaign to encourage residents to ‘Love Your Park’.
The campaign aims to encourage people to put litter in the park bins or take it home – and will promote three quick ways to report full bins for emptying.
As the weather gets warmer and lockdown restrictions ease, more and more people will be taking advantage of Reading’s beautiful parks and open spaces. Whilst the Council is keen to encourage everyone to enjoy the benefits of getting out into nature, the potential for litter in parks increases.
Last year saw an unprecedented increase in the use of parks and open spaces nationally under pandemic restrictions. This trend was seen locally in Reading across all parks. At the same time, the Council’s street and park cleansing team collected a whopping 498.8 tonnes of litter from Reading’s parks. This compares to 307.5 tonnes the year before.
There are almost 400 bins across Reading’s parks which are regularly emptied by the Council’s park cleansing team, running a seven day a week service. Major parks like Prospect and Palmer Parks have bins emptied daily, with the majority of the other parks at least three times a week.
Robin, who has worked for the parks team for 40 years, says he’s seen a significant rise in the amount of litter in the parks he collects from. He says it makes him sad to think of his grandchildren having to play in a litter filled play park.
His colleague Jason, who joined the team last year, says collecting litter in the larger parks is relentless and fears this will only get worse as the weather improves.
From early April, new stickers will be added to park bins promoting three easy ways to report full bins, including:
- Report overflowing bins using the 'Love Clean Reading' phone app
- via social media @ReadingCouncil
- Using the QR code on the sticker to access an online form
The council will be also be promoting the ‘Love Your Park’ message around the borough with banners featuring real residents who support anti-littering. Children around Reading have also contributed ‘Love Your Park’ poster designs, which will be shared on social media.
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Recreation, said: “Our parks are one of the few places people can enjoy themselves for free and also benefit from the opportunity to keep fit, relax and spend quality down-time with their friends and families. Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic on our wellbeing, the benefits of being outside in the natural environment are more vital than ever.
“We want your help to ‘Love Your Park’ and help keep our open spaces clean, green and safe for everyone. We will be adding stickers to our park bins highlighting three easy ways to report full bins for collection. But we cannot solve this problem on our own – we need everyone to take responsibility for their litter and to encourage others to do the same.”
Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, added: “We know that parks and open spaces are one of the most valued amenities in Reading. We want to encourage people to improve their wellbeing by visiting our parks – especially now lockdown restrictions are due to lift. From 29 March, the rule of six will return, meaning up to six people or two households will be allowed to gather outside, although everyone is encouraged to stay as local as possible.
“We want to urge everyone to ‘Love Your Park’ and help us reduce the amount of litter that can easily accumulate. Please put your litter in the bins and report full bins to us. If there is no room in the bin, take your litter home with you.
“Litter spoils the environment for everyone. Not only does it look awful, it attracts rats, is potentially a health hazard and can harm wildlife. The increase in litter in our parks last year compared to the year before was roughly equivalent to 75 bull elephants or 250 cars!
“We have successfully run the Reading Adopt Your Street (RAYS) scheme since 2017. We hope to extend this to our parks and encourage interested residents and community groups to email RAYS@reading.gov.uk or find out more on the council’s website.”
The Council’s popular Reading Adopt Your Street (RAYS) programme enables companies, individuals, community groups and organisations, such as schools and youth groups to select a street, open space, footpath, park or shopping area to keep tidy through regular clean-ups. RAYS Volunteers are provided with litter pickers, 100% recycled plastic bags, gloves and hi-vis jackets. It is hoped more individuals and local groups will sign up to litter pick their local park over the coming months. www.reading.gov.uk/environment/reading-adopt-your-street-rays