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Love your local park – and keep it litter free

Love your local park – and keep it litter free

One of the positive side effects of Covid restrictions has been the fact that many people have been spending more time outdoors as a way of legally and safely meeting up with friends and family. This means that even in the depths of winter, public parks have been much busier than usual.

Now, as the days start to lengthen and the weather grows warmer (and with the potential for a cautious easing of lockdown approaching), public green spaces like parks are likely to welcome even greater numbers of people.

A green lifeline

According to environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, local parks became ‘a lifeline’ for many people during 2020 and into 2021 as a ‘priceless space where they could connect to nature and their local community’. Keep Britain Tidy has long championed parks through initiatives such as the Green Flag Award and awareness raising campaigns round issues such as litter and recycling.

An international quality standard for parks and green spaces, 2,061 locations achieved the Green Flag Award in 2020 – the highest number ever, demonstrating the increasing value that these green public spaces have had for people over the last year.

And with parks proving such a haven for people during the pandemic, it’s not surprising that a recent vote to find the country’s ten best Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces was so popular, with over 59,000 votes cast.

The People’s Choice ten most popular parks and green spaces were:

  • Cassiobury Park, Watford
  • Hollycroft Park, Hinckley
  • Margam Park, Port Talbot
  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
  • Strathaven Park, South Lanarkshire
  • Telford Town Park, Telford
  • University of Essex Wivenhoe Park, Colchester
  • Valentines Park, Ilford
  • Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets
  • Warley Woods, Smethwick

Congratulations to all the deserving winners.

Meeting littering challenges

However, increased usage has also created significant challenges for local authorities, parks departments and ground staff in terms of maintenance, litter control and safety.

A survey of over 100 local authorities carried out at the end of 2020 by Keep Britain Tidy found that more than half of the UK’s parks had to implement extra resources to deal with problems such as litter and anti-social behaviour when the first national lockdown eased in the summer of 2020.

  • 81% reported that they had to spend more on clearing up litter
  • 79% spent more on emptying bins
  • 72% needed more resources to maintain public order or enforce lockdown rules
  • Local authorities spent on average an extra £33,000 on managing parks during the first three months of the first national lockdown
  • Councils cleared an average 57 tonnes of additional waste from their parks

Creating a strategy for litter management

“The rise in littering isn’t that surprising given the increased use of parks and open spaces, but it is disappointing,” comments Amberol’s MD, Patience Atkinson-Gregory. “As manufacturers of litter bins, we work with customers on supporting the implementation of their littering strategy. It isn’t enough just to buy a lot of bins and put them in a public place; it’s also about communicating with the public and ensuring consistent messaging around litter disposal. For example, clear signage for bins and ensuring that a particular type of bin is fit for purpose.”

It’s important to ensure that the right style of bin is placed in the right location. For example, Amberol’s Olympic Bin offers versatility with two apertures and internal liners to enable litter separation at source. Although the Olympic has a 180 litre capacity, it has a small footprint which is one of the reasons why it’s such a popular choice in areas of high footfall.

Similarly, our Slim Bin Recycle banks of bins are ideal for use in places where there are lots of people but space is at a premium, so they are particularly popular in places such as visitor centres, sports centres and school and colleges. Whereas the Eco-Bin can be used as a standalone or in banks in locations where there is more space.

Be kind to parks

As a result of the rise in littering during national and local lockdowns, Keep Britain Tidy launched their ‘Be kind to parks’ campaign in 2020. The campaign is devised around behavioural insights that show people respond better to messages from individuals than from organisations. As a result, the campaign features images of real parks staff and park users explaining how anti-social behaviour impacts on them personally. A free digital toolkit and downloadable resources are also available on the Keep Britain Tidy website.

For advice on how Amberol’s range of litter bins could help people be kind to your park, call 01773 830 930 or email

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