Great British September clean

Hundreds of Barclaycard Payments colleagues volunteer for the Great British September Clean

Across the UK, millions of pounds are spent every year in clearing up the litter in our streets, according to Keep Britain Tidy. Not only is it unsightly and costly, litter also has a serious impact on the environment and harms wildlife. The RSPCA, for example, received 7,400 calls in 2018 to report animals injured as a result of litter. Keep Britain Tidy also reports that 80% of the litter that ends up in the sea begins on land, which could all be preventable.

Keep Britain Tidy is an independent UK-based charity with a goal to eliminate litter, end waste and clean up our beaches, parks and streets. A recent survey from the charity shows more than half of the UK’s parks have had to pull in extra resources to deal with littering and anti-social behaviour since lockdown was eased in the UK over the summer. The local authorities who responded to the survey – more than 100 of them in total – said they had spent, on average, an extra £33,000 on managing parks in the past three months, with one reporting increased spending of up to £150,000. Councils also reported clearing up, on average, 57 tonnes of additional waste from their parks.

Our colleagues are passionate about improving the environment

To help combat the problem, the charity has been taking action through an army of volunteers for a mass tidy-up, called the Great British September Clean, and some of our Barclaycard Payments colleagues wanted to get involved. The campaign encourages people across the UK to volunteer their time as part of a national litter-pick, and is a follow-up to the Great British Spring Clean which was unfortunately impacted by COVID-19.

In previous years, many colleagues across Barclays have taken part in the Great British Beach Clean across the UK to support the Marine Conservation Society. This year, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions on gathering in large groups, colleagues were not able to organise a beach clean. So, instead, on 18 September 320 Barclays colleagues made a pledge to litter pick where they live locally, and took part in the Great British September Clean – while remaining careful to follow social distancing guidelines. The first priority was to make sure everyone stayed safe, so those that took part did so either as an individual, as part of a family group, or as part of a friendship bubble.

This year’s event was a huge success as colleagues built on their efforts to support the fight against litter pollution. Up and down the UK, they took time out to litter-pick in their local neighbourhoods and an array of rubbish was collected from parks, beaches, woodlands, canal walks and other beauty spots.

Tom Jarvis, Director of Sales Enablement and Professional Services at Barclaycard Payments who led the team challenge explains: “Keep Britain Tidy’s research shows that people are more likely to litter where litter is present. Small actions can make a big difference and now, more than ever, action is needed to help clear up the devastation left behind following lockdown earlier in the year.

“I’m proud of the colleagues who have pioneered this great initiative even during a global pandemic. It really brings to life Barclays’ commitment to making a positive difference in our communities and environments.” 

Barclays has an ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050. Click here for more details.