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The ups and downs of litterpicking – a volunteer’s story

Becky Collier
Laura Sorensen
By Becky Collier & Laura Sorensen

My name is Laura Sorensen and I am a volunteer litterpicker with CPRE Somerset.

I live near Glastonbury in Somerset and have been out many times and attracted others to join me.  The photos show us during a litter pick by the busy A39 bypass from Glastonbury to Wells.

Unexpected bonuses

We have encountered many Thatchers cider cans and I decided to write to them to ask if they could assist in any way. They wrote back a very encouraging letter and promised to put us on their social media. They also kindly showed their appreciation by sending us a box of cider!

The other week someone on the litter pick unearthed a small bottle of Courvoisier brandy. He held it aloft and shouted to me “Laura, write to them!”

Me and my fellow litterpickers all enjoy seeing each other and have made new friends who now go walking in the surrounding countryside without litter picker sticks – or we would never get anywhere! Once you have noticed litter you can’t un-notice it!

A word about compostable cups

On our litterpicks, we never to fail to pick up a Costa coffee cup or McDonalds wrapper of some sort so I might write to them and ask them to sponsor some more litter pickers and yellow jackets. Their wrappers and cups are single use non-recyclable, and even the compostable cups are not environmentally friendly considering the journey from the plant material (starch – corn or spud) that has to be planted by machinery fuelled by diesel or petrol, then harvesting (same issue) then manufacturing (same fossil fuel issue) then packaging (in plastic tubes and cardboard boxes, then distribution, storage……….and use for about 10 minutes……..then disposal – oh no not in the home compost heap but an industrial one. There are not many in the UK…so they often go for incineration or landfill. So, no – compostable cups are NOT OK!! We use over 8 million a day in the UK – it’s not sustainable.

Plastic particles are in our soil, our air, our water; worms are absorbing the micro plastic, birds eat the worms – it is a worry.

Laura Sorensen, Volunteer, July 2021

If you feel inspired by Laura’s story and you live in Somerset, you can sign up as a #2minute Litterpick Volunteer. We can kit you out with a picker, gloves and hi-viz vest if you commit to a regular litterpick in your area. 

Find out more about volunteering with us

Litterpickers pick up cans of cider
Laura Sorensen