Litter Picking Drop-Ins – A New Approach to Litter Picking During Lockdown

We are all adjusting to the new normal, but what does that mean for litter picking? Gone are the days when we could arrange a community litter-picking event and invite as many people as possible to get involved. Now we must consider new legislation, distancing measures, and increased risks.

A new approach was needed and the idea of the litter picking drop-in’s stations was born. This concept has been installed by several local authorities across the UK and here at Helping Hand Environmental, we would like to share with you Manchester City Council’s Litter Picking Drop-Ins case study – in support of the Keep Manchester Tidy initiative and Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Parks campaign.

How does it work?

Initially the council selected a small number of parks to work in across the city. At each park set up a litter picking station. The local authority invited people to come along through social media and linked the activity to a wider campaign; Love Parks.

Setting out the station

The litter picking station itself was quite simple and comprised of;

  • A table with PPE and hand sanitiser
  • Litter pickers arranged individually (so people only touch the one they will use)
  • Bag hoops and bags
  • A container for people to deposit the equipment they have used
  • Sanitising wash and wipes to clean equipment after use
  • Promotional banner and flag promoting Keep Manchester Tidy
  • One or two friendly station managers to engage potential volunteers (at a distance)
  • Tape or small barrier to help maintain distancing at the station
  • An up to date risk assessment

Council staff manned the station and invited people to come along between 10 am and 2 pm. They could take equipment and pick litter for as long or as short a time as they wished. They asked that people acted as either solo litter pickers, social bubble litter pickers, or small group litter pickers of no more than six socially distanced people – making arrangements for people to either return collected litter to the station, or to other designated points across the City.

What worked well?

The litter picking stations were a success. This is what people liked about them:

  • Flexibility of being able to turn up to suit, as opposed to having to meet somewhere at a fixed starting time
  • Flexibility to pick for just a short while. This meant people didn’t feel guilty about leaving a group early or not doing enough for the group. People were also surprised about how much litter can be collected in a short space of time
  • Full compliance with coronavirus regulations
  • Greater inclusivity with no pressure to be part of a group – including  several disabled people getting involved who would not have otherwise have joined an organised litter pick.
  • Many of those who took a litter picker had conversions with other members of the public. This proved to be a good way to promote the profile of litter picking as a positive and valuable community activity. Volunteers told us how they were thanked for their litter picking work by passers-by.
  • We thought that when the public see volunteers doing litter picking, as opposed to paid council workers, it acts as a nudge for them to do the right thing and not drop litter. Volunteers agreed with this thought.

What Were the Challenges?

Manchester City Council faced very few challenges in using this approach. The weather being too wet or very hot did reduce the numbers of people visiting the station, but not significantly. They did have to remain vigilant about social distancing; when people became passionate about cleaning up they sometimes forgot that they needed to maintain their distance.

Keeping it Working

The local authority have continued to deliver litter picking through drop in stations. Partnering with their colleagues in Biffa to add information and resources about recycling to our stations and this has proved popular in attracting passers-by to visit the station.

2021 Plans

Manchester City Council’s  next plan is to use this approach to test litter-picking stations in district centres and other urban spaces and host the drop ins for corporate groups and large organisations to support their Keep Manchester Tidy initiative.

How we lent a Helping Hand to this project?

We have been Manchester City Council key supplier of sustainable litter clearance hand tools in support of their community engagement projects for over the last 10 years including Love Parks, Keep Manchester Tidy and their new Litter picking Drop In Stations.

Our safer litter collection range as helped Emma and her council colleagues to support their volunteers wth social distance litter picks safely – including our folding litter pickers, disenfectant sprays and NEW Handicart Duo helps to support safer litter segregation across the City.


Which Helping Hand Litter Picker Is Right For Me?

Clearing up litter is an ongoing responsibility for local authorities, facilities management companies and waste contractors as well as voluntarily by litter heroes for all ages. For those in charge or take on the challenge of such a fundamental task, access to high-performing and durable litter picking tools is vital.

That’s why so many customers across the world choose Helping Hand. We manufacture the World’s most sustainable litter picking tools which are 100% reusable; build and designed in Britain; direct from our factories in Herefordshire. No matter the environment or application, Helping Hand have the ideal litter picker for you.

However, it can be difficult to identify the right tool at a glance. So we hope this handy guide helps you determine the ideal Helping Hand litter picker for your litter pick.

First question to ask yourself… What kind of litter will I be picking up?

Before deciding what Helping Hand litter picker to select, you may want to consider the types of litter you’ll be dealing with either on a daily or voluntary basis. For some, that may include fairly lightweight pieces of rubbish, including plastic bottle or food cartons ro smaller items such as cigarette ends and chewing gum. For others, it may be heavier items, like glass, wet carboard, newspapers or waste that could pose a risk to health, like bio hazard, PPE litter, or dog mess.

  • Plastic (bottles, packaging, crisp packets, bags, chewing gum..)
  • Paper (including cardboard, newspapers, magazines, coffee cups, fast food wrappers)
  • Glass
  • Cigarette butts
  • Dog poo and other hazardous waste
  • PPE litter – face masks, disposable gloves


Litterpicker Pro Standard Litter Picker Grabber – ideal for general litter picking

Litterpicker Pro Standard Litter Picker Grabber

The Litterpicker Pro Standard Litter Picker Grabber is our most popular product. It is a popular choice among frontline local authority staff and litter heroes. It is available in over 6 lengths; though the standard 33″ length is ideal for a variety of collection applications, including street cleansing, janitorial and volunteer litter picking activities. With a lightweight construction, trigger style application, an ergonomic PRO over moudlded handle and grooved jaws, it can target both small and medium-sized pieces of rubbish. And for little litter heroes our Graptor Children’ Litter Picker Grabber is the prefect companion for any eco warrior!

Key Features: Easy-to-operate PRO handle; available in 6 lengths for different environments from 18″-10ft; grooved jaws offer a secure grip to pick up all types of general litter.

Lengths Available: 18″, 33″, 37″, 50″, 6ft, 8ft, 10ft


Streetmaster Pro Precision Litter Picker Grabber – ideal for picking up smaller items

Streetmaster Pro Precision Litter Picker Grabber

If the areas you clean are frequently plagued by small items of rubbish including chewing gum, mircoplastics and cigarette butts, then then Streetmaster Pro Precision Litter Picker Grabber is the tool for you. It features a rubber, tapered jaws that is capable of grabbing fiddly items with a precise, concentrated grip as well as an easy-to-operate PRO handle for continious use. Additionally, a key feature of the Streetmaster Pro is its 90 degree rotating swivel head – which can quickly fit into differently oriented spaces for fast and effective litter collection from confined spaces and the 18″  Tidy Jon Pro Precision Litter Picker Grabber perfect for this application!

Key Features: Precision jaws for tightly grasping small objects; comfortable, user-friendly Pro style handle; 90° rotating swivel head, available in 5 lengths for every application.

Lengths Available: 18″, 33″, 37″, 50″, 6ft


Ranger MAX Heavy Duty Litter Picker Grabber – ideal for tough litter collection jobs in any weather

Ranger MAX Heavy Duty Litter Picker Grabber

The Ranger MAX Heavy Duty Litter Picker Grabber is suitable for tough litter retrival . Its tong style one piece design allows users to exercise a stronger, more direct grip on the items they lift for effective heavy-duty litter collection. Thanks to its durable rubber jaw ends, it offers fantastic traction for grabbing wet items and has a bright reflective design which improves visibility of the user and the items they collect. It is also available in two handle choices – straight as standard or curved which some may find offers better comfort or leverage. Plus why not get the Ranger Recycle Kit, which extends the lifecycle of your litter picker by 300% making it 100% reusable everytime.

Key Features: Tong style one piece 35″ length for a more secure grip on heavy items; rubber jaw ends offer traction for lifting heavy or wet objects; available with a straight or curved handle, optional Recycle Kit available.

Length Available: 35″ only

Options: straight or curved handle, Ranger Recycle Kit


Safe Pick Pro Folding Litter Picker Grabber – Ideal for Social Distance Safer Litter Collection

Safe Pick Pro Litter Picker Grabber

Specially design for higher risk litter collection or litter picking on the go, the Safe Pick Pro Litter Picker Grabber comes with a robust yet easy to transport construction folding option . Available in two lengths 21.5″ short and standard 33″ folding. The Safe Pick Pro is portable and offers a good distance between users and potential biological risks when fully extended. This is also ideal for social distance litter picks as it enables volunteers to grab refuse items securely without having to get too close to them. Its jaws offer a strong grip and are shaped for versatile litter collection. This litter pick is great for taking with you when you are litter picking, hiking, or plogging too!

Key features: Extendable design; strong curved jaws for social distance applications; folding design for quick transportation to rapid response collection sites.

Lengths Available: 21.5″ or 33″


Lastly, We’re Here To Lend a Helping Hand

Whether you’re a professional or a litter picking volunteer, our sustainable litter picking range can make the task of cleaning up your local area easier. We have a tool at hand for every environment iIncompassing high quality Britsh design and manufacture. And each one of our Helping Hand family of sustainable litter clearance hand tools is incredibly robust, hardwearing and 100% reusable, so you can get the most for your money, sand support the environment.

If we can be of any other further assistance, please feel free to give our friendly sales team a call on 01531 635678 or email


#RecycleWeek Winner Announced

It’s #RecycleWeek and this years’ theme is all about saying thank you to our key waste workers and recycling volunteers.

Thank you for all the nominations for our #RecycleWeek Handicart Duo Cart competition.
We had over 3,400 interactions across our social media pages and received some fantastic nominations from little #litterheroes; to community groups that are out Litterpicking every weekend; a Plastic Eco Warrior and families who litter pick every day – you are our #RecyclingHeroes – thank you.
But there could only be one winner and we are delighted to announced our #RecycleWeek competition winner is Robert James Butler (pictured) – many congratulations Robert – a Handicart Duo is on it’s way to you!
Robert received so many nominations from the residents of Sileby Parish Council about his litter picking efforts; a true #recyclinghero who is making a difference everyday.
Robert is also a key worker for Charnwood Borough Council (at weekends) supporting recycling collections across the borough – but his passion is volunteer litterpicking in his Parish and with Sileby Environmental Conservation Volunteers – organising and undertaking a host of litter picks and recycling tasks. Without a car this task becomes even more of a challenge, so from everyone at Helping Hand Environmental, we really hope our Handicart Duo can make Recycling on the Go a little easier.
From everyone at Helping Hand Environmental, we would like to personally congratulate all the nominees for all the outstanding work you do – you are all winners making a difference. And if you would like to find out more about our range of litter segregation products, click HERE

#RecycleWeek Competition

It’s #RecycleWeek and this years’ theme is all about saying thank you to our key waste workers and recycling volunteers.
At Helping Hand Environmental, we’d like to take this opportunity to recognise the litter segregation efforts of our customers during lockdown with a very special competition prize – our new litter busting cart – the Handicart Duo.
This awesome litter segregation cart helps you to recycle on the go with dual waste capacity, sort and segregate general litter from DRS – plus it’s super light, made from 35% recycled materials and folds away easily.
If you are a Helping Hand customer, solo litter picker, eco ambassador or frontline service worker – we want to hear from you. Nominate your #recyclinghero who has worked or volunteered tirelessly through lockdown to collect and sort litter and #recycleonthego
Entries must be sent into our marketing team – p.s make sure you #hashtag in your email title #recyclinghero competition nomination.
But be quick, you have until 28th September to get your entries in! Good Luck

Safer Litter Collection

The Helping Hand Company have been able to maintain all manufacturing lines of our world famous sustainable litter clearance tools from our facilities in Herefordshire. Our environmental range meets both the current demands of social distance litter collection and cleanliness to support operational staff and volunteer litter heroes across the UK to litter pick safely.

And with the increase in #lockdownlitter on our streets, parks, neighbourhoods and beaches – our 100% reusable range will support you in keeping litter at arms length, when picking up #lockdownlitter items such as face masks, wet wipes, disposable gloves and fast food packaging.

What’s more our products can be easily wiped down or cleaned with anti bacterial sprays/wipes to reduce the risk of contanimation; especially if you are loaning out litter picking equipment to support small group activities, volunteers litter picks or adopt a space campaigns.

Helping Hand’s safer litter collection range includes folding litter pickers, sanitiser spray, anti bacterial wipes, wipe clean handle litter grabbers, pooper scoopers and bio hazard kits for hygenic and safe pick up everytime.

Even our commercial litter picking equipment has unique product features to support safer litter collection in these challenging times so frontline and volunteer litter pickers alike don’t have to quarantine their litter picking equipment for 72 hours after it has been used.

Helping Hand Litterpickers
– the RANGER MAX and Community Litterpickers are perfect for both operational litter collection and volunteer litter picking. Their wipe clean handles allow you to use them again and again – plus all our litter pickers come in a variety of lengths or styles to keep you at arms length: view range

Helping Hand Handihoops – a litter pickers best friend, the Handihoop Pro and Handihoop Plus multi functional litter bag hoops have heavy-duty wipe clean handles; making them your ideal collection companion for carrying heavy bags with ease.

What’s more the Handihoop Plus innovative scoop/sweep plate and optional body carry strap –  let’s you collect or sweep litter and detritus effectively. Or find them, ready to go on the Handicart Pro!

Reusable Gloves
are a must for hygenic litter collection at any age. Our washable 100% reusable gloves are available in adults and childrens sizes. Be safe on every clean up.

Tidy Up Kits – our clean up kits offer a one stop portable kit filled with all your litter picking essentials. Packaged into a handy, waterproof and wipe clean kit bag – making it super easy to carry and/or store away after your event. Or go bespoke and make your own clean up kit

To find out more information about our safer litter collection products, social distance litter picking guidelines, please contact Helping Hand Environmental on 01531 635678 or email

We’d love to hear about your social distance litter picks too – please join us, on our NEW Community Forum


Carly Di Crescienzo
UK Sales Manager

#GBSeptemberClean relaunched

Take Part in The Great British September Clean with Keep Britain Tidy
1. From Friday 11th – Sunday 27th September – sign up/get involved in the nationwide campaign to tackle the blight of litter after lockdown:
2. Embrace & recognise your local actions will making a positive difference to where you live – become an environmental ambassador for change – don’t forget to share you stories using the hashtag #GBSeptemberClean
3. Solo picking, and/or with your family and household members? Your actions will influence behavioural change – read the latest litter picking guidance here: or download the official guide:
4. Enable safer litter collection in line with local waste streams, diverting from landfill (litter v DMR) support a circular economy #reuse #recycle #rethink
5. Collect & carry; separate & sort; smarter, safer and even more than ever before – check out our NEW Handicart Range and safer litter collection tools
#reuse #recycleonthego
Need a Helping Hand with your litter picking equipment?
We would always encourage you to speak to your local authority first, as some frontline services might loan or give out litter picking equipment in support of your clean up.
Prefer your own? Speak to our Helping Hand Team on 01531 635678 to access safer litter collection products, free volunteer litter picking guides and discounted volunteer order forms – dont’ forget to quote KBTGROUP –

#PlasticFreeJuly – Our Top Tips

As part of #plasticfreejuly campaign, Helping Hand Environmental been attempting to cut back on unnecessary single use plastics.

So, how do you keep that momentum going? Here are 5 ways to keep the momentum up when it all feels a bit bleak or you are unsure on handle single use plastics:


Whilst initiatives such as Plastic Free July are a fab starting point, the momentum can start to diminish as soon as the next monthly challenge takes centre stage.  We read books like ‘No more plastic’ by Martin Dorey and ‘How to Live Plastic Free’ by Marine Conservation Society, we look at heart-breaking photographs and watch programmes like Blue Planet, follow influence bloggers on Twitter. Remind yourself why you are trying to become Plastic Free at home and at work.


We use 300 MILLION TONNES of plastic each year. Every day, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. Less than half of plastic bottles used in the UK are recycled – and over 150 plastic bottles litter each mille of UK beaches. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. It’s estimated that there is now 5.25 trillion macro and micro plastic pieces floating around in the open ocean.

We can all lend a helping hand in the fight against plastics!

We have reduced single use plastic from our work stations and canteens!


Getting outside and seeing plastic litter first-hand.  Some fun initiatives include Plogging which combines jogging and picking up litter – you’d be amazed how much rubbish you can collect in half hour! Other amazing examples include #PlasticFreeCoastlines run by Surfers Against Sewage, Plastic Free July, run by Marine Conservation Society and the awesome Martin Dorey’s #2minutebeachclean concept and boards including the NEW #2minutestreetclean and #2minutelitterpick


A Plastic Planet  say ‘There will always be a need for plastic – medical science, aviation, technology, car industries – where plastic can more easily be reclaimed and kept within a closed recycling loop. Single use, especially for food and drink, is not defensible.’

The real issue is single use plastics – plastic cups, straws, coffee cups, plastic bottles, milk bottles, cutlery etc. Do we need such lazy products in our life and buy using and buying such products we are encouraging and support the use of this throwaway items which just end up in landfills. Lastly it is important we support brands which are making a difference – A Plastic Planet, Iceland, Morrison’s, Simply Cups, Coca-Cola, Costa, Harrogate Spring Water and all doing awesome things!


Reduce, reuse, recycle- has been in our lives for decades. Completely eradicating all single-use plastics from your work/home overnight isn’t realistic. Think about where you can reuse it, and move on to recycling as much as humanly possible if all else fails.

More companies are moving towards plant-based ‘plastics’, but for this to be a success in the future, there needs to be more industrial composting sites, and more councils offering food waste collections.

As a business Helping Hand Environmental are do our bit, check out our #Factory2Hand tour where we are eliminating single use plastic from our waste, processing and manufacturing stream and our 100% reusable litter pickers and litter picking carts; to segregate and sort plastics.




Important Information About Our Annual Stock Take

Helping Hand Environmental Annual Stock Take will take place from Wednesday 1st July until Friday 3rd July 2020.

Unfortunately, no orders can be invoiced or dispatched during this time.

Last day to order Tuesday 30th June before 12pm for standard stock items.

Place your orders now to avoid delays:

Telephone: 01531 635678

Or visit our WEBSHOP

We will still be accepting orders online during this period, however we will be unable to ship goods until w/c 6th July. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Create Your Own Litter Picking Kit

Create Your Own Litter Picking Kit with Helping Hand Environmental

The perfect litter hero gift/ litter picking kit is waiting for you in three easy steps:

  1. Select your litter picking companions – choose from a wide range of 100% reusable products to build your own solo litter picking kit or litter hero gift set
  2. Download your FREE litter picking guide with every order
  3. Want to add a special message – well now you can! Want a message added into your order, we can do that too!

Buying for yourself? By creating your own litter picking kit you can order your custom kit or litter picking set that perfectly fit your litter picking task, clean up activity, or funding application criteria.

Buying as Gift? Whether a birthday gift, thinking of you, or a just because they are an awesome litter hero, there is a range of safer litter collection products to choose from.

We know, it’s not always easy to choose one product to send, so select from a wide range of reusable litter picking equipment from litter pickers, bag hoops, litter carts, reusable hi vis vest and gloves and safer litter collection products to create a high quality and thoughtful gift which can be sent straight to your recipient.

And if you want to add a special box message, or future delivery day, we will do our best to make and send your kit to support your individual request.

Still not sure what equipment to order? Next month, we will launching Helping Hand Environmental Gift Vouchers – the perfect gift for any litter picker!

To find out more about contact Helping Hand Environmental on 01531 635678 or email or follow this LINK



Drink & Drop – 75% of Litter Thrown in England is related to Drinking on the Go

According to a recent report produced by our friends at Keep Britain Tidy and DEFRA, a whopping 75% of litter being thrown on our streets, parks and beaches in England was the result of drink consumption.

The most littered items were recorded as:

  • Plastic bottles – nearly 25% of all litter recorded
  • Cans
  • Larger bottles
  • Glass bottles
  • Coffee cups
  • Soft drink cups and cartons

Much of this should and could be recycled now. For example, only 43% of all plastic bottles produced in the UK are recycled. This is why Keep Britain Tidy are calling for a well designed and comprehensive desposit return scheme (DRS) as soon as possible in England.

Trials of DRS are already taking place in some supermarkets chains like Iceland and The Cooperative Group – who are trialling a money off coupon system per item brought back to be recycled in store. There is also the development of behavioural change campaigns, linking DRS including the successful Drive Down Litter campaign in partnership with Roadchef and Hubbub, which has seen the installation of deposit return machines and split recycling bins/target bins across some of Roadchef’s Motorway Service Stations.

In Scotland, the Government will soon be introducing DRS widely in July 2022 as the bill was passed last month to introduce across the country – making Scotland one of over 40 countires worldwide to introduce DRS; increasing recycling rates for drink containers in some countries to over 90% and in turn saw a reduction in dropping litter.

Did you know? In the UK, we could generate £26 million every year if all the plastic bottles thrown away or dropped on our streets, parks, beaches were reversed vended. Therefore, the concept to ‘Recycle on the Go’ has never been more important. If you are interested in finding out how easy it is to segregate and seperate at source, check out our NEW Handicart Range of litter segregation and recycling carts or contact our sales team on 01531 635678 for further information, book a trial or virtual demonstration.