No Rubbish Excuses: Community Comes Together to Help Keep Ouseburn Tidy
Businesses, local residents, and community leaders support the Keep Ouseburn Tidy campaign, ahead of the summer months which are expected to bring increasing numbers of visitors.
It’s no secret that Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle’s cultural and creative quarter, has seen a startling increase in litter since lockdowns have encouraged people to spend more time enjoying the outdoors. Businesses across the Valley have been overwhelmed by visitors’ rubbish, even facing paying for litter collections during pandemic-induced closures.
Ouseburn Trust’s Chief Officer, Chris Barnard states, “As businesses are permitted to open primarily for outdoor service, litter in the Valley will no doubt continue to be a problem. We have volunteers keen to help keep on top of it but we are seeking support from businesses and the public alike to help keep Ouseburn tidy, so we can all continue to enjoy such a special environment.”
One Ouseburn-based business has taken steps to ensure they’re doing everything they can to reduce Ouseburn’s litter problem. YogaTherapies, based in Byson Court on Portland Road, have invested in an additional litter bin which will be accessible to any passersby. Businesses pay for litter collections, but the strain on public bins is high and it’s common to find takeaway food cartons and empty drinks cans piled around bins and seating areas.
“When we moved into our new premises in Ouseburn, we knew we had found our forever home”, says Chris Jackson, Director at YogaTherapies. “A big part of that for us was taking responsibility for the wellbeing of the area and ensuring that we really were doing our part to maintain and protect the balance of beautiful nature and quirky architecture”.
Businesses participating in the Keep Ouseburn Tidy campaign are urging visitors to be conscientious, encouraging people to take litter home with them whenever possible. In addition to pleas from businesses, local residents are taking matters into their own hands whilst urging authorities to consider providing additional litter bins to help alleviate the problem.
Local resident Martin Wintermeyer states: “I have lived in the Malings for two years now and I have always been really impressed with the community feel and how the residents are keen to work to make the Ouseburn Valley a vibrant and lovely place to live, work and play.
“The Malings Environment Team are out every weekend picking up litter and moving fly-tipping to make it easier for the Council to remove. We are very pleased to be sponsored by the Tyne Bar, The Cluny, The Cumberland Arms, and The Kiln, along with Morrisons who keep us equipped with bin bags and pickers. Moreover, the Ouseburn Trust have loaned us litter pickers so it is a real ‘community effort’.
“Whilst we are very happy to get out and pick up other people’s detritus it would be far better if people could take their own rubbish home with them… Additionally, if there were more bins, especially those able to take recycling versus rubbish, it would lead to a much more lovely valley!”
Ouseburn Ward Councillor Gareth Kane recognises the litter issues but believes the core of the problem is beyond just careless individuals. “Litter is a blight on our green spaces like the Ouseburn Valley, not just aesthetically, but being in a river valley, litter has a good chance of ending up contributing to the global ocean plastics problem. It has been exacerbated by the pandemic as more food and drink is being served in single-use containers. I’ve been very impressed with efforts such as the Plastic-free Ouseburn project and the Ouseburn Trust’s Community Litter Picks trying to address the litter problem locally, but we also need more effort by packaging producers to reduce single-use items at source.”
Support the Keep Ouseburn Tidy campaign
Here are just a few ideas for doing your bit to protect the Valley:
- Spread the word. Awareness of the problem may help reduce careless behaviour. Download a ‘No Rubbish Excuses | Keep Ouseburn Tidy’ poster or social media graphic and make it visible.
- Always take your own rubbish home with you to reduce the strain on public bins.
- If you’re visiting Ouseburn, take a bag and some gloves along and pick up litter as you walk along. It’s a simple but very impactful way to help reduce the problem.
- Report over-filled litter bins to Newcastle City Council.
- Report fly-tipping to Newcastle City Council.
- Become a Clean Green Ouseburn volunteer through the Ouseburn Trust.
- Donate to the Ouseburn Trust’s Greener Ouseburn campaign.