Diary of a litter picker: clearing the verges of vintage litter and other odd things

Country roads of the British Isles are strewn with litter, usually things that have been in people’s mouths. It’s surprising we have not been facing a worst epidemic. I collect so many tins and bottles of alcohol that I can only conclude there is a lot of drink-driving.

These cans of alcohol have been lying in our verges for over ten years

Motivated by fury, I stopped my car to collect this litter chucked into the New Forest National Park. As one of my litter-picking friends pointed out, most of the cans are high energy drinks that somehow don’t provide the imbiber with enough energy to put them in the bin.

In contrast, I found a bottle stamped with the word ‘Quosh’ in one rural ditch. It must have been languishing there for fifty years.

Made by Carter’s of Coleford who produced Ribena, Quosh was advertised as originally costing 2’9d, a ‘pure fruit’ squash, no less.

Occasionally there are bonuses. I found this incredibly useful item that, being water resistant, still works, although it took a while for me to work out its function.

It’s a project torch: waterproof, rechargeable and quite expensive.

I’m not sure if I want to use these goggles myself, but they are intact.

Do people assume that their litter throwing will not be noticed? The results are becoming increasingly conspicuous. We see. Surely anyone can? Did they see what I saw?

I found an odd looking garden rake:

An odd-looking garden rake

And a plastic revolver:

All this litter is being flung into the New Forest National Park on a daily basis. Everything in these photos was collected in one week, apart from the rake. Car parts add to the detritus that is becoming dangerous, certainly to wildlife.

Fly-tipping – in the Nature Reserve – is a regular occurrence. It has to stop.

There have been over 400 cases in the New Forest in the last year.

It goes on and on.

Up-cycled plant pots that somehow lack beauty

I reported these items some time ago. The tyres in the river (below) have been collected but it took a while for the ‘pot stands’ to be collected.

Think of registering with the charity Keep Britain Tidy who can give advice on litter-picking and help tackle this national problem. You can find more information here.

To read about weird and aged litter I’ve found, please click here

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

13 thoughts on “Diary of a litter picker: clearing the verges of vintage litter and other odd things”

  1. I don’t think I will ever cease to be amazed at what you find on your litter-picking forays. It is such a shame, criminal even, how some people have absolutely no regard for the beauty of their environment, aside from the pollution aspect. The ‘incredibly useful item’ has got me stumped!

      1. How interesting; that’s new to me. Somebody will probably be missing it, but I’m glad it’s found an appreciative new home.

  2. What annoys me is that country lanes near us, mostly used only by locals have litter – we pick it up regularly.

    1. We see the same people dropping the same kind of litter daily. One chap knots it neatly before chucking it out of his van window. Do you see a lot of empty bottles and cans of alcohol thrown out by drivers? My next post will be on that problem.

      1. We do. And the other thing that annoys us are people who bag dog mess then just chuck the bag.

  3. Hi Sophie. Your my hero, I’m so
    proud of you girl…. If Fly-tipping Fines started at £5000 with no upper limit and general Littering similarly from £50, People might learn respect for our wonderful Country

    1. I suggest fly-tippers should get points off their driving licenses. If something accidentally falls off your roof-rack you get 3 points off your licence. If a load falls off your lorry, you get 9 points. But if you fly tip?

  4. Yes I agree Sophie and there never seems to be an end to littering and fly tipping. I’m 50 and grrowing up in the 1970s and 80s you would see litter but nothing like what it is now. It seems to be a fairly recent thing where litter is found down country lanes certainly no further back then 20 years. What I have noticed though is a presence of less police patrols and a visible police presence, this seems to have been coupled with the emergence of litter thrown out by drivers down country lanes. I used to do long walks a few years back and was dissapointed to see bottles, cans, Mcdonalds bags and Kentucky fried chicken bags strewn down a lane near a quaint little village called Worfield a few miles from the market town of Bridgnorth. As I entioned in another post if current laws are not enforced they are useless. With less police people are getting braver to the point where they do not expect to get caught when dispossing of little from their cars. I do remember one hilarious and justily deserved when a van driver pushed out a cardbord box out of his van while travelling along the busy A449 close to where I live. Unfortunately for him he could not see the policeman on a motorcycle directly behind a lorry coming the other way. Then as he pushed the box out of the window and it fell out he came directly opposite to the policeman who saw it fall and who threw it out. The policeman promptly turned around and pulled over the culprit. If only this sort of thing were to occur more often with a higher police presence in our towns and villages then fly tipping and littering would be curtailed.

    1. Littering from a car is dangerous. It should incur points taken off the drivers license. Lorry drivers lose 9 points if their load slips ie: they lose they job. Littering will never be taken seriously otherwise. We’ll end up driving down roads that have become rubbish tips.

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