A ‘Trashconverter Van’ will tour the Forest of Dean for the next couple of weeks, accepting trash rather than cash in exchange for food, flowers and hot drinks. The scheme brings together a range of actors including the Forest of Dean District Council,  community groups, local littering charities as well as local residents.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory site director Mick Pedder said: “At Coleford we’re well aware of what a privilege it is to work in such a beautiful area – one that so many of our staff call home. It is therefore only natural that we passionately believe in working with the local community, the Council and Hubbub to take action, put an end to littering and protect the Forest.”

With the UK’s growing litter epidemic costing taxpayers £850m every year, the scheme seeks to find innovative ways to engage the public. The strategy shines a spotlight on the nudge theory concept which proposes positive reinforcement rather than punishments to influence motives.

Hubbub chief executive Trewin Restorick added: “Layby litter louts blight the beautiful natural landscape, dumping 250 tonnes of rubbish each year in the Forest of Dean, some of which takes several thousand years to decompose.

“So we’re taking the unusual step of swapping rubbish for rewards to promote positive behaviours and encourage everyone to dispose of their litter properly.”

Litter bug

Hubbub has confirmed that the Trashconverter Van will tour the country if this pilot project is successful. The scheme follows a similar Hubbub roadside litter campaign last year which reduced litter by more than 30%.

Last year’s initiative was heralded as a success story in the recent UK Government’s litter strategy, which includes tougher penalties – including fines of up to £150 – to penalise offenders in a bid to tackle the growing national problem. Responses to that strategy from businesses and non-profits suggest that rewards-based public behaviour change schemes could reinvigorate Britain’s recycling system.

While organisations such as Hubbub have introduced numerous behaviour change schemes, including the use of giant coffee cup bins, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has previously suggested that the private sector should adopt “levies” per product sold in order to generate funds for national litter strategies.

In March, more than 300,000 people, including children, took part in the Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, a volunteering drive to help promote new behaviours and attitudes towards litter. The charity has previously worked with chewing gum company Wrigley’s on anti-littering campaigns.

George Ogleby

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