Petersfield Society are grateful for the support given by the Rt Hon Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education and MP for East Hampshire who joined the volunteers for over an hour of litter picking, together with East Petersfield Community Group, The Ramshill Residents Association, the Town and District Councils, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
The litter was sorted and analysed by 20 volunteers using a method devised by CPRE to ensure continuity of results.
Drinks containers accounted for 50% of the litter, comprising 2567 aluminium cans, glass and plastic bottles, and cartons.
These startling figures come only 4 months after the Society’s last town-wide clean-up for Remembrance Sunday.
429 glass bottles were collected, 150 larger than 750ml and 279 smaller, and 916 plastic bottles, 235 larger than 750ml and 681 smaller. All 1,202 drinks cans were smaller than 750ml. There were 20 cartons.
Beth Svarovska, Petersfield Society Trustee responsible for leading the clean-up and analysis, commented “Volunteers are willing to help Council contractors keep the local area clean but a change of strategy is required to reduce litter at source and increase recycling.”
The great news is that, after years of campaigning by many groups, the government has agreed to introduce a deposit return system and is now consulting on its design.
Using the CPRE analysis methodology Petersfield Society will report its findings in its response to the government consultation run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The Society encourages other groups across Hampshire to do the same. The consultation is open until 13th May.
Two models are to be considered: an ‘all-in’ model encompassing all drinks containers, or an ‘on the go’ model to include only containers smaller than 750ml sold in single format.
Petersfield Society agrees with CPRE that the ‘all-in’ model is preferable and supports CPRE’s ‘Golden Rules’ for a deposit return system which are that it:
Speaking on the new Petersfield Community Radio, Damian Hinds MP said that deposit schemes operating in some other countries seem to be effective and that it is good we are consulting about it in the UK. He explained that a lot of different organisations will be taking part in the consultation, each contributing to the overall picture and added: “I would encourage community groups in Petersfield and other towns to do so. We’ve seen behaviours and attitudes change through other schemes, such as plastic bag usage. I’m really struck by children showing leadership on environmental issues and the number of schools becoming plastic-free.”
Councillor Hilary Ayer, Petersfield Town Mayor, commented "This project is an outstanding example of voluntary community involvement to improve Petersfield as a special place to live, work and visit. Congratulations to all who took part."
Samantha Harding, CPRE Litter Programme Director said: “The efforts of Petersfield Society in collecting this astonishing amount of drinks cans, bottles and cartons only reinforces the urgent need for a UK-wide deposit return system. The evidence from their survey is yet more proof that there is no limit to the size of drinks containers littered and that every type of material – glass, plastic, aluminium and cartons – are left polluting our countryside.” She continued: “By introducing an ‘all-in’ deposit system, the government will bring an end to the growing scepticism around current recycling methods, boost recycle rates for drinks containers to near perfection, and prevent harmful cans, bottles and cartons from entering the environment.”
Forty Petersfield Society volunteers arranged the drinks containers from its litter-pick into the words “Clean Up” for an aerial photograph. Each letter is 5m high. The installation was created on Petersfield Heath.
Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean 2019 is underway and in March Petersfield Society organised a community litter-pick in which 60 volunteers collected 112 sacks of litter from the 25 sq km of Petersfield and Sheet.
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