These Kids Picked Up Litter On Their School Run – And Filled 173 Bin Bags

Behold, the next generation of eco-warriors

Children at a primary school in Perranporth, Cornwall, have shown many hands make light work by filling 173 bags with litter on two morning school runs.

Back in March the children took part in a mass litter pick en route to school and collected 116 bags of rubbish, filling an entire industrial-sized wheelie bin. On 17 July they collected a further 57 bags of rubbish and a bodyboard that had been dumped in a hedge.

Mum-of-two Amy Jones, 39, from Penforth, said her two children Matthew, six, and Lucy, three, had a whale of a time taking part in the litter pick.

“They get really excited by it,” she said. “We walked for about three quarters of a mile. We all had a glove on and a bag, and we just picked stuff up as we found it and tried to organise it into rubbish and recycling.”

Primary school children dispose of what they've collected in their early morning litter pick.
Green and Blue
Primary school children dispose of what they've collected in their early morning litter pick.

Amy said the litter pick slowed them down by about 10 minutes, but added it was worth it. “Once you start looking for litter, you suddenly see it everywhere and realise how much there is,” she explained. “They’re definitely far more aware of litter now. When they see litter they go: ‘There’s litter mummy!’” (This can lead to a bit of a battle when Amy doesn’t have plastic gloves in tow.)

Another parent, Laura Holland, said: “My girls love it, they are so much more aware of the impact of litter on the environment and are also much more likely to pick up litter at other times too.”

It is hoped the initiative organised by local wildlife company Green and Blue in collaboration with Perranporth School, will catch on among some more of of England’s 24,000 primary schools. There’s more information on how to host an early morning litter pick here.

Everyone got involved with picking and sorting the litter.
Green and Blue
Everyone got involved with picking and sorting the litter.

“With so much focus on beach cleans, we thought it was important that our streets didn’t get forgotten,” said Faye Clifton from Green and Blue. “Living and working in Perranporth I’ve seen firsthand just how much rubbish accumulates in the hedges and pavements, and it’s easy to just walk past and think someone else will deal with it.

“Already parents and children are telling us it’s now almost impossible to ignore litter and walk past.”

Amy said the initiative has been beneficial in two ways: firstly because it encourages the kids to walk to school, but also because it makes everyone feel involved and responsible for the spaces around them. Even children who don’t walk to school can get involved by picking up litter on the school grounds.

“Maybe older people in the community will feel a bit guilty so they’ll pick it up too,” she added. “It filters through to everyone.”