Litter picking army in Sheffield growing thanks to new Facebook page

Litter pickers in Heeley with their haul of rubbish
Litter pickers in Heeley with their haul of rubbish
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The army of volunteer litter pickers cleaning Sheffield’s streets each month has been hailed ahead of this year’s Great Big Spring Clean.

Susan Tavernor created the ‘Sheffield Litter Pickers’ Facebook page to help people find out how to make a difference where they live.

Susan Tavernor (third from right) with fellow litter pickers

Susan Tavernor (third from right) with fellow litter pickers

The page lists many of the regular clean-ups taking place across the city, and Susan never ceases to be amazed at the numbers giving their time for free.

“There are hundreds of us. It’s unbelievable,” says the 46-year-old, who coordinates a litter pick in Heeley on the first Saturday of each month.

“I set up the Facebook page around 18 months ago and so many people have come out of the woodwork since then to say they run a litter pick.

“There are groups which have been running for years but there’s a lot of momentum and there are new ones starting all the time.”

Hundreds of thousands of people nationwide are expected to don gloves and grab bin bags for this weekend's Great Big Spring Clean.

But for many volunteer litter pickers it is a year-round task, come rain or shine.

When it comes to litter, Susan says there are three kinds of people: those addicted to collecting litter, those who just want their neighbourhood to look nice and others ‘who just moan and say it’s the council’s job’. “We just ignore the last lot,” she said.

To an outsider, it may seem like a demoralising undertaking - picking up rubbish each month only to find litterbugs have left more to be bagged up when you return - but Susan says it couldn’t be more rewarding.

“It’s really satisfying. You get a real buzz out of it and we always get passersby stopping to thank us or giving us the thumbs up,” she says.

For Susan and her fellow litter pickers, one perk is finding unusual items.

The oddest discovery she can recall was a strange contraption looking like a traffic warden’s ticket machine, which turned out to be a machine worth hundreds of pounds used by a pigeon fancier to track his birds.

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