Giant rainbow of recycled cans springs up on Brighton seafront
As lockdown restrictions eased earlier this year, littering in summer hotspots across the UK hit an all-time high with some London parks reporting a whopping 32% increase in litter in June 2020 from the previous year.
It was Brighton & Hove however, which saw some of the largest littering figures with 11 tonnes of rubbish collected from the beach in just one day, an increase of 267% vs the same period last year - that’s 2,000 bin liners full!
With climate change and protecting our environment back in the forefront of everyone’s minds, these figures are a stark reminder of how people’s antisocial behaviour could destroy much-loved beauty spots across the UK.
Made up of 2,000 cast aside aluminium drinks cans that have been captured for recycling, but could otherwise have been destined for landfill, the colourful structure stands four metres into the air and seven metres wide, with the scenic backdrop of Brighton & Hove’s seafront. The rainbow structure stands as a symbol for the good that comes from doing the right thing with empty cans and recycling them to allow them to live again.
The Europe-wide recycling initiative recently celebrated a new milestone in the UK for cans being collected for recycling, with the rate reaching a record high of 76%. The vision, however, is to reach 100%.
Rick Hindley, Director of Every Can Counts, comments: “The impact of the pandemic has affected the lives of everyone in the UK. Despite this, key workers across the nation have continued to do everything they can to help and support us through this crisis. From NHS workers and shop staff, all the way through to the local refuse and recycling workers who have worked tirelessly to retain a sense of normality on our streets, this installation is our way of saying thank you for everything they’ve done for us during these trying times.
“As lockdown eases, we’ve seen huge volumes of people flock to the beaches to enjoy the summer as best they can. But sadly, the result is unsightly rubbish littering our beautiful British landscapes – including many aluminium drinks cans. We’re here in Brighton & Hove today to remind people to take care of the planet, as the key workers have taken care of us, by cleaning up after themselves and recycling their drinks cans. Aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable, and the cans collected in Brighton & Hove will be recycled into new ones in just six weeks, helping us get that little bit closer to achieving our ambition of recycling all the drinks cans sold in the UK. Our mission is to inspire, encourage and empower people to recycle their drink cans wherever they are.”
Of the Every Can Count rainbow arch, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas comments, “It’s wonderful to see the Every Can Counts initiative in Brighton highlighting the importance of recycling valuable aluminum cans. I’m looking forward to seeing the giant rainbow of recycled cans which will serve both as a great eye catching sculpture for the campaign and as a celebration of the service of key workers during this pandemic. There will be roaming recycling ambassadors to speak to people about the campaign and a photo competition with the rainbow so do head down and see what it’s all about!”
Councillor Amy Heley, joint chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, said: “Our city’s beautiful open spaces have been a much-needed respite for many residents during the lockdown, especially the beach. The downside has been the staggering amount of litter that has been generated. It’s taken a lot of hard work from our teams to keep our beach and parks clean. There are plenty of litter and recycling bins along the seafront so there’s no excuse for leaving a mess.
“We hope the rainbow helps to remind everyone how important it is to look after our beach and recycle more, especially when out and about. Our current recycling rate is still only 29.4% and a city like Brighton & Hove needs to do much, much better. We’ve installed more than 170 multi-coloured triple bins on the seafront where people can recycle cans, paper, cardboard and glass, as well as bin their litter. And if you can’t find a bin, please take your recycling home to put in your household collection.”
The Every Can Counts rainbow archway will remain in situ on Brighton & Hove’s seafront between the Upside Down House and i360 until 14th September.