Litter is a huge problem across the UK, with clean-ups costing councils £682m. But it’s not just towns and cities facing this rubbish problem – Britain’s precious forests and woodlands are blighted by an onslaught of litter discarded by day-trippers, campers, cyclists, motorists and local residents.
Today, thanks to the success of its ongoing campaign in the Forest of Dean, environmental charity Hubbub is releasing its #LoveYourForest Inspiration Guide to motivate communities everywhere to tackle littering in their own local forests and woodlands.
Love Your Forest was launched in 2016 in the Forest of Dean and since then, over 800 bags of litter have been collected through various interventions.
Run in collaboration with funder Lucozade Ribena Suntory, the Forest of Dean District Council, Forestry England, Foresters’ Forest, local artist Glenn Redwood, and Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Tourism, the campaign has seen an array of fun activities and interventions rolled out across the forest, inspiring visitors to take their litter home and spread the word to family and friends.
The campaign has included The Trashconverter, which turns trash into treats, and the ‘litter critter’ junk animals and tree-with-a-face ‘Communitrees’ that remind visitors to do the right thing.
Between 2016 and 2018, 16 schools and 38 local businesses got behind the campaign and over 11,000 people have been involved, with the numbers continuously on the rise as the campaign has moved into 2019.
Building on this success, Hubbub’s #LoveYourForest Inspiration Guide aims to encourage others to follow in the Forest of Dean’s footsteps and collaborate to keep Britain’s woodlands clean.
Through a range of interactive ideas, the guide provides tips and inspiration for any local authority, school, community group, forest association, or anyone who wants to make a positive impact on rural rubbish.
Whether it be using litter to create eye-catching installations, holding a workshop or event, picking up litter, or simply distributing car stickers and posters, the guide contains plenty of ideas to inspire action.
Trewin Restorick, CEO of Hubbub, said: “Our partners in the Forest of Dean have allowed us to get really creative with interventions that have proven hugely successful in engaging people with Love Your Forest. Now we know what works, we’d love to spread the message and further reduce rural littering. Our guide is packed with tips and tools, whether you’re just looking for a couple of simple ideas or want to plan your own full-scale Love Your Forest campaign.”
Cllr Chris McFarling of the Forest of Dean District Council, said: “Love Your Forest is an excellent initiative which has enabled us to involve the whole community and look at different ways of working to tackle the litter problem. Not only that but with its emphasis on having fun, we’ve found that residents and visitors of all ages have readily engaged with us. In time, we hope the impact of the campaign will show a clear reduction in the amount of rubbish being dropped that falls to the Council to collect. This guide contains the very best of the ideas that have worked for us, making it a brilliant resource for anyone who is facing similar challenges.”
Sue Middleton of Foresters’ Forest and Forestry England added: “It’s been so rewarding to see how the Love Your Forest campaign has encouraged those passionate about litter in our Forest to come together to create fun and interesting ways to educate each other about the importance of litter picking. We really do love our Forest and hope that the new guide will inspire others across the country to follow suit and clean up to make their forests and woodlands beautiful again – it’s actually quite addictive!”
Michelle Norman, Director of Sustainability and External Affairs at Lucozade Ribena Suntory said: “The Love Your Forest campaign’s interventions have achieved real impact in the beautiful Forest of Dean – an area that is close to our hearts as a local employer. After four successful years as a partner and funder of the project, we want to create a legacy and are inviting other businesses, local authorities and communities to take the best ideas that will work for them and create a growing legacy for the Love Your Forest project.”