Rubbish Clearance: How Upping It Is Making a Difference

December 13, 2017 1:41 pm

A group called “Upping It,” based in the Moss Side and Rusholme areas of Manchester, is composed of citizens who could be called neighborhood rubbish clearance activists. They patrol, monitor, litter pick, educate, and work to beautify their neighbourhood, which includes about two hundred streets and nine thousand houses in an area colloquially known as “The Terrace Square.”

Started by resident Anne Tucker in 2013, the group is committed to taking charge of their own blight problem. The alleyways of their neighbourhood were filled with overflowing bins, litter, and rubbish clearance from fly tippers. In one case, that was documented with photographic evidence, a builder fly tipped a one tonne bag of construction rubbish into one of their alleyways. It took over three months for the Manchester City Council to remove this fly tipped rubbish, and in the meantime, there it sat as an enormous eyesore on the neighbourhod. This is just one example of why citizens felt it would behoove them to take matters into their own hands.

Upping It is a very proactive group, with citizens who have a “take charge” kind of attitude toward rubbish clearance. They not only clean up the litter that is strewn on their streets and alleyways, they find ways to deter it from happening in the future. One of their major projects has been to “green” their alleyways by planting beautiful flowers and other vegetation in large planters. The transformation is amazing! Ugly blighted areas are turned into beautiful walkways. This obvious sign of civic pride often deters people who would otherwise litter or fly tip.

The membership of Upping It takes a very personal approach in how they deal with neighbours who may be littering or allowing their rubbish clearance to scatter in the alleyway. Their methods do not usually involve reporting their neighbours to the council. Rather, they prefer to have personal one on one conversations, neighbour to neighbour, with a goal toward education and changing mindsets. They also talk to their neighbors about ways to increase their recycling efforts and reduce the rubbish clearance they produce.

Sometimes it comes down to people just not having enough pride in their already blighted street to care enough their own behavior. Sometimes, they just haven’t thought enough about about how their littering impacts other people and the environment. However, once they see their neighbours care, they often do change their behavior and even join in to help clean things up and keep it tidy going forward.

Fortunately, the good work of Upping It has gotten a lot of press and good word of mouth. As new citizens become inspired by activities of Upping It, and they state they want to get involved and do the same thing on their street, they are encouraged to engage their neighbours to form a mini group of volunteers. The goal is to recruit at least six people from at least four households who want to green up their neighbourhood and deter littering and fly tipping.

Once they have this group of committed volunteers, they are then encouraged to organize litter picking events, greening events, and educational efforts. The Upping It group will even come in to help with wheelbarrows, garden tools, and additional people help. In some cases, when they have enough money to do so, they will even donate planters and plants to help green the area.

The Manchester City Council has taken notice of the positive impact Upping It has had on the neighborhood. The group recently received a £7,600 grant from the Manchester neighbourhood investment fund (NIF) to help pay for plants, compost, planters, materials needed for clean ups, educational leaflets, training sessions, and starting new groups. The entire steering committee of Upping It was also awarded “Be Proud” awards at the Manchester Town Hall as part of the Manchester’s Clean City Programme. The group has also been dubbed the “Pride of Manchester.” It’s a feel good programme for all involved and the results have had a very positive and immediately noticeable impact on the community.

As Upping It has gotten more press and their results more visible, their good work has become more infectious. It is now quickly spreading to other parts of Manchester and even other cities in the UK. Clearabee, a green focused rubbish clearance company, could not be prouder of the efforts of these civic groups and how much they are encouraging the removal of rubbish clearance and encouraging more responsible recycling. If you are a member of one of these groups, and you have before and after photos of the greening of alleyways or other group activities, please post them to Clearabee’s Facebook page so they can help spread the word about good effort even more! Let’s also hope it stays “contagious!”

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