EALING’S litter action group, LAGER Can, collected 274 tonnes of rubbish from the borough's streets and open spaces in 2021.

Volunteers filled 24,561 sacks with litter and recyclables.  They recovered enough fly-tipped junk to fill the equivalent of another 11,049 sacks, plus 808 bags of leaves.

Surprise finds included two guns in a rucksack in Islip Manor Meadows, Northolt, several motorbikes by Wharncliffe Viaduct, Hanwell, a canoe in woods on Horsenden Hill, a pallet-load of honey at Bridge Road, Southall ,and a live pet rabbit near North Hyde Bridge, Southall.

Bottles and cans made up much of the haul.  LAGER Can's Cathy Swift says a deposit return scheme would go a long way to solving the problem.  

"Like many members, I'm dismayed by delays to the introduction of the national deposit return scheme,” she said. 

“Up to half the rubbish we pick up could be reused or recycled. If a deposit were paid on bottles and cans, I believe this type of litter would disappear almost overnight." 

In 2021, members of LAGER Can - the Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents - spent a total of 17,796 hours litter-picking, attending some of the 262 group events or working alone. 

More than 60 Duke of Edinburgh Award candidates were supervised.  The year also featured the group being honoured with a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Cathy says membership rocketed during the pandemic.

"In June 2020, we ran a series of events to remove rubbish from Warren Farm. The council disposed of the hundreds of bags we filled. 

“They also cleared up a vast amount of fly-tipping and a large number of wheelie bins that had been stored there and set alight. 

"The story of the transformation encouraged others to ask LAGER Can for help. An example was the Dog Rose Ramble in Northolt, where we cleared many tonnes of rubbish in a series of group events. 

"Membership went from 375 in June 2020 to nearly 1,800 today.  By being a strong visible presence around the borough with our trademark blue vests and rubbish bags, we've changed litter picking from a niche activity to the mainstream."

For more information about LAGER Can, visit www.lagercan.co.uk