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Dan Smith reports on a litter clean up with wider ramifications for the environment

I don’t know about you, but I have never understood how people can drop litter? It just seems like a really lazy thing to do.

In this day and age, when the news is full of the damage that humanity is doing to the environment, it also seems completely obscene.

No-one can be unaware now of the harm that litter and plastics in particular are causing to the world’s eco-system and yet, there are people who do not think that the same rules apply to them.

That means our public spaces are often littered with the flotsam and jetsam of modern life.

We removed over 22kg of both recyclable and non-recyclable waste in just 30 minutes!

Dan Headshot BW Dan Smith Sustainability and Construction Manager

Plastic free

Did you know that this month is meant to be ‘plastic free July’?

There’s a dedicated website created to show everyone what they can do to make a difference and on the back of this, I and my fellow sustainability champions at Mitsubishi Electric decided to get together to play our part.

Working in collaboration with Wilmott Dixon, we volunteered for a morning of litter picking, on Windmill Hill in Hitchin, Hertfordshire – which a lovely green space above the town but is also notoriously bad for litter.

The morning kicked off at the nearby Wilmott Dixon office, with an interesting discussion on the circular economy, and an eye-opening presentation on plastic pollution from Tommie Eaton, the founder of Bambuubrush.

Through his wealth of knowledge and engaging storytelling, Tommie highlighted the power of conscious consumerism, and the significant impact plastic can have on our environment.

After the enlightening presentation, we put our words into action by heading to Windmill Hill in Hitchin for a local park clean-up.

All the volunteers from Wilmott Dixon and Mitsubishi Electric then donned our recycled organic cotton bucket hats, grabbed a bambuu tooth brush and car-shared to Windmill Hill.

The dedicated and passionate team armed with gloves, bin bags, and an eagerness to contribute, quickly combed through the park, removing over 22kg of both recyclable and non-recyclable waste in just 30 minutes!

Through this collaboration between the volunteers, Willmott Dixon, Mitsubishi Electric and Bambuubrush, we managed to showcase the power of collective action and the importance of corporate responsibility.

Together, we made a tangible impact on the environment while fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.

Can’t wait for the next event.

Why get involved?

Whilst I was there, I took the opportunity of talking to the volunteers about why they had taken the time to come and here are some of the amazing quotes.

I hope they make you think about your own waste and what you can do to minimise any harm to the environment.

And if you would like to go further and are looking for ideas, please visit the Plastic Free July website for tips and inspiration.

“For me – single use plastics are a really easy tangible way to make a change, you can physically grasp it and recycle it!”

“The waste hierarchy is well used on site in construction, however, it is easily forgotten in personal life for the ease of convenience! You only have to walk into a supermarket and see an unnecessary amount of plastic bag, plastic package, which we can get rid off!”

“Go and support your local farmers market, green grocers and so forth – buy direct the source. Not only will you notice a difference in quality but you might make a huge difference in someone’s livelihood and ease stress on a supply chain.”

“But what is my one toothbrush or plastic bag going to do” is a quote you often hear – but multiple this to 1 million people – and the knock-on effect is HUGE!”

“Let’s all do our bit – I urge you when you next go to buy a bag for life, look at how many you already have at home? Keep one in your car? Don’t overlook immediate convenience for something that might have long lasting effects.”

“I’m really passionate about climate equality - In recent decades, global economic growth has lifted millions out of extreme poverty and reduced inequalities between countries. But unmanaged climate change threatens to set back that progress by damaging poverty eradication efforts worldwide, and disproportionately affecting the poorest regions and people. Why should our over indulgence across our society affect those in less economically-developed countries.”

Dan Smith is Sustainability and Construction Manager