Street cleaning champions thanked by Bristol City Council and Bristol Waste

Street cleaning champions thanked by Bristol City Council and Bristol Waste

Dedicated street cleaning volunteers who collected more than 4,000 bags of litter last year were honoured last Thursday at a special event in City Hall.

Residents were thanked by Mayor Marvin Rees, Councillor Marley Bennett, and Bristol Waste in recognition of their hard work to keep Bristol clean and green.

The volunteers’ work is part of the Bristol Clean Streets campaign, which was launched in 2016 by the mayor in response to issues like fly-tipping, litter and graffiti, and includes the Big Tidy project, which brought the sparkle back to 1,823 streets across the city between October 2019 and March 2023.

The campaign tackles a nationwide litter problem, which sees two million pieces of litter being dropped every day in the UK. To combat our city’s litter, Bristol Waste spends around £6million a year to collect around 3,700 tonnes of litter, which would otherwise travel into the harbour and out to sea.

The Clean Streets attendees represented the wider volunteering community in Bristol, who gave up almost 5,000 hours of their time last year to spearhead the Clean Streets mission at over 1,000 litter picking events.

  • A staggering 4,019 bags of litter were collected in 2023
  • 4,195 volunteers gave up their time to take part in 1,087 litter picking events
  • 206 litter picking kits were loaned out for free by Bristol Waste

While a large part of the Clean Streets campaign involves litter picking, there was a variety of work represented at the event, including graffiti removal work by the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Street Scene group and the award-winning St George in Bloom, which brings flowers and plants to local communities.

Lisa Weare, leader of the south Bristol litter picking group the Whitchurch Wombles which has over 741 members, encouraged other residents to get involved. She said: “Litter picking is a great way to get fresh air and exercise. Your own area looks better and everyone is very grateful. You can join in with big events and make new, amazing likeminded friends. It’s changed my life!”

Mayor Marvin Rees said: “It’s fantastic to see how our Bristol Clean Streets campaign has brought together hardworking volunteer groups and community minded individuals from across Bristol to make a visible impact to our streets and green spaces. Keeping Bristol clean and green is everyone’s responsibility, and the work of these volunteers is a great reminder to residents to do their bit. Thank you to everyone for all of your efforts building a better, cleaner Bristol.”

Councillor Marley Bennett, Cabinet Member for Waste, Climate, Ecology and Just Transition, said: “These residents truly love where they live, and we are so grateful for their efforts. You can see the pride they take in their work, and in a city the size of Bristol, they are truly a valuable asset. We want all residents to think about what they can do to keep our Bristol tidy, from taking your litter home with you to helping your neighbours with their recycling. Everyone deserves to have pride in their neighbourhood.”

Hannah Sturman, Director of Transformation & Stakeholder Relations at Bristol Waste, said: “Regular street cleaning work is an essential but often unseen task, and our crews work hard to keep 800 miles of Bristol’s roads and pavements clean and safe. We are extremely grateful to our Clean Streets champions who bring that extra sparkle to their neighbourhoods and keep our city looking its best. A big thank you to all the volunteers.”

If you enjoyed this blog, go ahead and share it!