Love Your Forest
Country roads and ancient woodlands strewn with litter is a rubbish problem to have. Each year 250 tonnes of rubbish is removed from the Forest of Dean, where our manufacturing site is based, costing local tax-payers more than £400,000 a year. So, we’ve taken on the challenge to help reduce littering and have ditched the finger-wagging and upped the fun and positivity.
We asked Hubbub to come and help us test some innovative and positive solutions to tackle this problem. Hubbub are well placed to help due to their experience of running successful urban anti-littering campaigns, such as Neat Streets.
As a result of this partnership, The ‘Love Your Forest’ campaign was launched in 2016. It’s been designed to engage different sections of the local community in a collaborative effort to help fight the ever-increasing environmental issue.
Love Your Forest activities so far include:
The Litter Shop Of Horrors
The UK’s first ever litter shop - it was a pop-up shop that displayed decades old litter collected from the floor of the Forest of Dean and rebranded to a funny effect to raise awareness of the impact of littering.
This museum of waste had an array of discarded picnic plastics and ‘forest fresh – locally sourced’ trash. There were several vintage and unusual finds, including 30yr old crisp packets, rebranded ‘The Olden Wonder’ and drinks bottles called ‘Fruits of the Forest’. There was even one old croc… so beware, there might be another one still lurking in the wood!
Research has suggested that our behaviour when we’re being watched is very different to when we’re acting unobserved. To test this theory and to see if it could be used to stop rural littering - ‘Communitrees’ were created.
They are a community of trees, guardians of the Forest of Dean, brought to life with faces made from litter picked from the forest floor. The friendly faces keep a watchful eye on visitors to the forest, serving as a playful reminder for people to take their litter home.
When they entered the forest in 2016, at least 2,850 local people engaged with the trees. Litter monitoring around the Communitree installations indicated a 30% reduction in local litter levels and 82% of people polled said they would like to see similar projects in the future. Due to popular demand, they returned to the forest in 2017.
Would you exchange trash for treats?
This is no ordinary van…. It’s a van that tours the countryside accepting trash rather than cash in exchange for popcorn, flowers and hot drinks. The van highlights the problem of litter and uses positivity to promote responsible behaviour.
On its inaugural tour, the van travelled across the Forest of Dean visiting a variety of litter hotspots including secondary schools, local businesses, laybys, local parks, picnic sites and town centres. It attracted more than 2,418 visitors leading to the collection of 68 bags of litter.
The van was also accompanied by 100 replica wild flowers which were made entirely from litter. Created by artist Michelle Reader, they acted as a reminder to the public of what the forest floor should be covered in.
Litter costs the British taxpayer a staggering £1 billion a year. And the biggest problem in rural areas is the roadside.
To highlight this problem, Love Your Forest saw the installation of a roadside gallery of local residents with key anti-littering reminders to prompt drivers to take their litter home.
Thanks needs to be given to all collaborators on Love Your Forest including Hubbub, Forest of Dean District Council, Foresters’ Forest, The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association and the Forestry Commission.