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CPRE’s ‘Green Clean’ gives litter pickers cash for trash

6 September 2018

The reverse vending machine in Brigg, Lincolnshire The reverse vending machine in Brigg, Lincolnshire

With a deposit return system on the way, come and help the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) clean up the countryside and get money for any bottles and cans you find [1]

Throughout September, CPRE is organising a series of nationwide litter picks to clean up the countryside ahead of the introduction of a deposit return system – which will help prevent our countryside, towns and cities from being littered with bottles and cans [2].

CPRE will be taking its mobile reverse vending machine – which collects drinks containers of all materials and sizes – to various ‘Green Clean’ litter picks being held across the country. Participating volunteers will be able to dispose of, and receive 10p for, each of the drinks containers collected, helping people become accustomed to the way that a deposit system works, ahead of the introduction of such a scheme in England.

In many countries, reverse vending machines are already used by consumers to recycle used drinks containers and reclaim deposits, boosting recycling rates in those countries to as high as 97% [3].

Maddy Haughton-Boakes, litter campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

‘Our nationwide Green Clean will help ready the countryside for the introduction of a deposit return system, transforming it back to a beautiful, litter-free state. The reverse vending machine will give people a taste of what is to come, and highlight how financial incentives can help to boost recycling.

‘We want to demonstrate that so long as the deposit system that the government introduces is designed to collect all drinks containers – of all materials and sizes – harmful litter could soon be a thing of the past.

‘We want everyone across the country to get out and get involved. Through the collective effort of local people and communities, who either live in or simply love the countryside, we can banish bottles and cans from our fields, hedges and parks for good.’

After 10 years of campaigning, the announcement earlier this year that England is to have a deposit return system was a huge win for CPRE in its fight against littered bottles and cans in the countryside.

As well as collecting litter, CPRE and its team of Green Cleaners will record the quantity and type of litter they find. CPRE will share this data with the Government, via its upcoming deposit return consultation, to make sure England gets the best-designed system.

The carrier bag charge has shown that people respond well to financial incentives, changing their behaviour accordingly. England’s deposit system will continue to encourage people to do the right thing.


Notes to Editor:

  1. Full details on when and where Green Clean litter picks are taking place, and how people can get involved, can be found here:
  1. CPRE delighted by deposit return announcement
    On 23 March 2018, the government announced that it would be introducing a nationwide deposit return system for plastic and glass bottles, as well as aluminium cans. The introduction will help boost recycling rates and combat the plague of litter blighting our countryside.
  1. Deposit return – the past becomes the future

For countries such as Norway and Germany, that already have a deposit return system in place, littered bottles and cans are a rare sight, because the system means that they carry monetary value. Many other countries and provinces have found a deposit return system to be the best way to capture drinks containers - you may recall a similar initiative for glass bottles in England some years back. Thanks to the monetary incentive, such schemes wield an unrivalled return rate of between 70-98.5%, with an associated reduction in other container litter of up to 80%.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful and thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Emma Bridgewater, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.

Please call our Press Officer, Phil Richards, on 020 7981 2880 for further information

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