Love Your Park anti-litter campaign

We have launched a new anti-littering campaign to encourage residents to ‘Love Your Park’.

The campaign aims to encourage people to put litter in the park bins or take it home – and will promote three quick ways to report full bins for emptying.

As the weather gets warmer and lockdown restrictions ease, more and more people will be taking advantage of Reading’s beautiful parks and open spaces. Whilst we are keen to encourage everyone to enjoy the benefits of getting out into nature, the potential for litter in parks increases.

Last year saw an unprecedented increase in the use of parks and open spaces nationally under pandemic restrictions. This trend was seen locally in Reading across all parks. At the same time, the Council’s street and park cleansing team collected a whopping 498.8 tonnes of litter from Reading’s parks. This compares to 307.5 tonnes the year before. This increase is roughly equivalent to 75 bull elephants or 250 cars! Litter spoils the environment for everyone. Not only does it look awful, it attracts rats, is potentially a health hazard and can harm wildlife.

There are almost 400 bins across Reading’s parks which are regularly emptied by the Council’s park cleansing team, running a seven day a week service. Major parks like Prospect and Palmer Parks have bins emptied daily, with the majority of the other parks at least three times a week.

Robin, who has worked for the parks team for 40 years, says he’s seen a significant rise in the amount of litter in the parks he collects from. He says it makes him sad to think of his grandchildren having to play in a litter filled play park.

His colleague Jason, who joined the team last year, says collecting litter in the larger parks is relentless and fears this will only get worse as the weather improves.

The Council’s popular Reading Adopt Your Street (RAYS) programme enables companies, individuals, community groups and organisations, such as schools and youth groups to select a street, open space, footpath, park or shopping area to keep tidy through regular clean-ups. RAYS Volunteers are provided with litter pickers, 100% recycled plastic bags, gloves and hi-vis jackets. We hope more individuals and local groups will sign up to litter pick their local park over the coming months.