Sheffield Legends of Litter Picking
The Sheffield Litter Pickers public Facebook group was created in October 2015, just as a means of linking up like-minded people into action. Anyone can join. People who don’t use Facebook have seen us out and about and just get stuck in. We are the sort of people who are ‘do-ers’ – we don’t like litter, so instead of looking at it we pick it up and put it in the bin. We think it is important to make a statement that litter is not acceptable.
The group has grown steadily. It’s an incredible way of being active, positive and meeting folk. Good friendships have been forged in this group between people who would otherwise be strangers. It’s a good feeling when you have tackled something and it looks good. Onlookers are supportive too; only a few tell us it’s a waste of time. It’s hard to know what to say to that – you could say it about everything in life really. Lockdown has changed things considerably and our membership number has shot up to nearly 2.7k. It seems people are spending their time either going walking with takeaway food which they chuck on the street, or going walking with a litter picker and picking up takeaway rubbish. It will be interesting to see what happens in the summer.
The rubbish we find is like the tv Generation Game conveyor belt. A dead cert on every pick is a traffic cone and a dog poo bag in a tree. Last week we went one better and had a traffic cone in a tree! We’ve also reunited people with lost driving licences, debit cards, passports. Picks near the station can involve the remnants of stolen property from trains, including Louis Vuitton and other designer packaging. We’ve found a few antiquities – an old ticket machine that was worth quite a bit of money. We find old crisp packets and confectionery wrappers from the 70s. Guns, knives and cash…lots of underwear and, er, a few sex toys.
Once you start picking up litter, it is something that you can’t imagine not doing. It is so prevalent though that we have to remember to keep looking up. Remember to look at a lovelier view, enjoy the flowers and the nice things in the world.