Picking, Litter


With their enhanced sense of responsibility and civic pride, it’s hardly surprising that pensioners play a significant role in keeping our parks, beaches and countryside as litter-free as possible.

Organised litter picks now take place all across the UK and in an average year, more than 600 tons of rubbish are collected, including 9.8 million plastic bottles, 230 miles of nautical roping, 18,000 ballcocks, 12,000 deckchairs and two horse-boxes.

Individual litter pickers can be found in numerous communities, and in 2012, 94-year-old Phyllis Mullock of Normanby-by-Spital was awarded an MBE for her dedication to ridding her neighbourhood of discarded plimsolls, socks and gloves for almost 35 years.

Compulsive litter picking, sometimes known as verge rumping, is now a recognised psychiatric condition, usually successfully treated by cognitive behaviour therapy and encasing the hands in concrete.

In the west country and Wales, litter picking is usually confined to selecting pigs.