A Litter Free World

Every day in the UK over 2 million items of litter are dropped on our beaches, fields, towns and roadsides, spoiling our landscape, harming our wildlife and threatening our planet.

Clearing up the litter dropped in the streets and green spaces in England alone is costing the UK taxpayer £1 billion a year. This is money that shouldn’t really need to be spent, and money which could be much better spent on public services. £1 billion would fund 38,644 social care workers or pay the running costs of 4,400 libraries. Alternatively, it would enable the NHS to pay for 33,200 nurses or 26,900 paramedics or allow the fire brigade to fund 31,990 extra firefighters each year.

As we know, the earth is a big place to keep clean. But a recent app developed by TED Resident Jeff Kirschner has created a community that’s crowdsource-cleaning the planet – Litterarti, an app for users to identify, collect and geotag the world’s litter. After tracking trash in more than 100 countries, Kirschner hopes to use the data he’s collected to work with brands and organisations to stop litter before it reaches the ground.

The most commonly tagged items so far have been plastic, cigarettes, paper, cans and bottle caps. But we’re doing well – the UK is currently the third most active country in the world on the app, having collected 22,425 bits of rubbish from our streets! We want to make it all the way to the top of the rankings, and think we can do so with you help.

Join the community identifying, mapping, and collecting the world’s litter. Download the Litterati app.

Trash to Treasure: Upcycling Courtesy of GD Environmental & Art Students at Coleg Y Cymoedd!

For the second year running we donated a skip full of scrap to the art students at Coleg Y Cymoedd, who turned raw materials into a broad range of creations as part of their upcycling projects.

Jeremy Spencer, a 3D Lecturer in Art & Design at Coleg Y Cymoedd, visited our Newport site for a grand tour and discussion with site manager, Jason Andrews, to determine which materials would be suitable for the art class. Jeremy explained, “The donated recycled materials form the raw ingredients that our students creatively ‘upcycle’ into objects of value both functionally and aesthetically.

Once the materials had been chosen, we gathered the team and worked together to fill a skip and get it delivered it to the students.

The results were incredible! Upcycled products ranged from sculptures made from reclaimed pallets to functional furniture.

We caught up with Megan Barker, an Art and Design student at Coleg Y Cymoedd, who told us about her upcycling experience: “I haven’t always been a maker. Despite this I have translated my creativity into making, wanting to embrace all of the splinters and hot glue burns that come with it! Although I’ve adapted, being confronted with the task of producing a piece from recyclables was challenging, however diving into the skip and stumbling upon hidden treasures was inspiring, thinking about the potential for each piece of someone else’s old belonging.

The generosity shown by GD Environmental Services in their donation of the recycled materials is extremely helpful to us budding artists as it gives us the opportunity to broaden our creative minds. I am very thankful for the donation and love that my sculptural pieces carry a story beyond the aesthetics.

Jeremy added, “A visionary company like GD Environmental Services shares our course’s values of sustainability and ensuring recycled resources are made the most of. I very much hope to continue and develop our relationship in the future with their kind support.

We certainly hope so too, a great job all round!