Hubbub offering treats for trash as forest litter initiative kicks off

Environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub has launched the next stage of its #LoveYourForest campaign by unveiling a ‘Trashconverter Van’ that exchanges collected litter for food, flowers and hot drinks in the Forest of Dean.

Hubbub offering treats for trash as forest litter initiative kicks off
The Trashconverter van is offering food and drink in exchange for litter
The initiative, launched today (15 May), will also see hundreds of ‘flowers’ made from litter found in laybys on nearby roads planted around the area. It aims to remind people about how the UK’s £850 million a year litter epidemic is blighting areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Forest of Dean, where 250 tonnes of litter are dropped every year.

Hubbub will tour the van around the Forest of Dean for the next two weeks, accepting trash for goodies, instead of cash.

It says that the van serves as a reminder of the area’s litter problem, and will highlight local trouble spots while trying to change visitors’ behaviour.

The ‘Trashconverter Van’ is the latest step in Hubbub’s #LoveYourForest campaign, backed by Lucozade Ribena Suntory, a major employer in the area, as it tries to build closer connections with the community.

Launched in 2016, the campaign’s core message is based on residents’ level of pride in the beauty of the Forest of Dean. Previous initiatives within the campaign included the UK’s first Litter Shop, which displayed litter found on the forest floor, and the Communitrees campaign, which saw children create 300 faces from recycled materials which were then fixed to trees to dissuade people from littering as they felt as if they were being watched, reducing littering by 30 per cent.

Hubbub offering treats for trash as forest litter initiative kicks off
Flowers made from litter found in laybys is showing the effect on the forest floor

Polling by Hubbub has revealed that while 86 per cent of the public believe dropping litter is an anti-social behaviour, much like driving without a seatbelt or smoking in front of children, one in five people admit to dropping litter consciously.

The second phase of the #LoveYourForest campaign will be delivered in partnership with six different local organisations including the Forest of Dean District Council, the Forestry Commission, and the Forest of Dean Tourism Association. In its third year, the campaign will be handed over to community groups to allow them to run the activities.

'A continual attempt to instill pride in the local area'

Speaking about the campaign, Hubbub CEO Trewin Restorick told Resource: “It’s the second year of #LoveYourForest, in the first year we did things like looking at cigarette littering in town centres and how do you stop littering in the forest around tourist areas and one of the messages that came out loud and clear from the initial year of research was the amount of litter alongside the roads, and particularly in laybys.

“So the challenge we set ourselves was working out how you stop that. It’s a particular concern for the council, because trying to clean litter from the roads is dangerous, and it was a concern for local residents as it was such an eyesore in a tourist area. It’s a real conundrum.

“What we were trying to do was to raise awareness about the amount of litter by the roads, so what we thought would be a good idea would be to place a van, like a burger van, in laybys and try to highlight how much litter there is on these roads by giving away free things like flowers and food to local people as a way of getting the message across.

“The key thing for us about the van is that it will go around local communities, local schools and really try and get the message out to parts of the communities, particularly younger people in a slightly different way.”

Items littered on roads can easily be transported into rural areas like forests and fields, here they can present a hazard to wildlife and a blight on the landscape. According to Hubbub, plastic bags – the most littered item in laybys by the Forest of Dean – take 1,000 years to decompose, with other common items like plastic bottles and cans taking 500 and 200 years respectively.

Restorick added: “The ultimate objective goals are, firstly, to cut littering, so we’re working with Forest of Dean District Council to measure the impact of that. The second is to get an idea of which of these initiatives are actually effective and then share information with stakeholders about that. And, the third thing we want to achieve is being able to hand over the #LoveYourForest campaign to local community groups so that they can continue to run the campaign over future years without our help.

“Eventually, Hubbub would like to take this nationwide. At the end of year three we’ll hopefully have a guide which shares everything we’ve learnt and then that will be available to national forests, areas of outstanding natural beauty and local authorities so they can take up some of the campaigns. Because things like the Communitirees project are not really that expensive to do, it’s just a question of giving people the idea.”

To find out more about the #LoveYourForest campaign, visit Hubbub’s dedicated page on their website.

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