The charity making life better by water

Let's Pick!

Our new research has shown that for many people they prefer to have a go at litter picking with others, and we don’t blame you.

Family litter picking on towpath

What's not to love about a litter pick and natter alongside one of our beautiful canals. The great news is we have lots of organised Let's Pick events up and down the country for you to join in with alongside like-minded people.

The survey

A survey sampled 377 random members of the public, and a smaller scale qualitative study conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with families. The survey concluded that a sizeable minority of the public reported they litter pick; 36% of the sample had litter picked at least once. In both studies social influence or being part of a group was shown as the biggest prompt to litter pick for the first time. For many participants in the interviews litter picking was initially driven by one highly motivated member of the family – either an adult or child, and within the survey 42% took part for the first time as part of an organised group, with a further 23% who's first time was as part of a family group.

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You know you end up coming home with big bags of litter, and they're like wow Mummy look, look how much we collected. You know there's like a feel-good achievement factor there, definitely.

216 of our 377 survey participants had never litter picked. A range of reasons were selected with 50% reporting that it isn't something they have thought of before. The interviews revealed a similar range of barriers including generally not having considered it as an activity;

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I've never thought to do it, it's not really occurred to me that I should pick up other people's litter. People should pick up their own litter.
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Apathy, urm feeling like I probably should but I haven't got gloves, I haven't got my gadgets. I haven't got a bag.

Both the quantitative and qualitative study suggest that organised events seemed beneficial in initiating people into litter picking. As well as removing other barriers that make the activity simpler and less hassle such as equipment and places to dispose of waste being easily accessible.

Find an event near you

Last Edited: 20 April 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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