'Shop' stocked with Forest of Dean litter opens

'CON-venience store' Image copyright Simon Abps
Image caption The litter artefacts, picked up in just half a day around the Forest of Dean, include decades old drinks bottles and a 33-year-old packet of crisps

A "litter shop" stocked with rubbish collected in the Forest of Dean has opened in Gloucestershire.

The rubbish, which includes a 33-year-old packet of crisps and decades-old drinks bottles, was litter-picked in half a day in and around the area.

To highlight the problem, the pop-up store has been opened in Coleford and a vending machine installed in the forest as part of a new pilot scheme.

If it succeeds at reducing litter, the project will be rolled out nationally.

About 250 tonnes of rubbish are removed from the ancient woodlands at a cost of £400,000 each year, according to the Forest of Dean District Council.

In a bid to "persuade people not to drop litter", a six-month campaign "Love your Forest" has been launched by the charity Hubbub working with the district council.

Image copyright Simon Abps
Image caption There is nothing on sale in the "shop"
Image copyright Simon Abps
Image caption A chiller cabinet displays discarded cans and sandwich packets under shops signs promoting "forest fresh" and "locally sourced"

"This is the real fruits of the forest - what's found on the forest floor," said Elle McAll, from Hubbub.

"And the crazy thing is we didn't have to do any archaeological digs, it was just still lying on the surface of the forest and still identifiable."

'Forest fresh'

Under signs promoting "forest fresh" and "locally sourced", the pop-up shop is stocked with shelves of dumped cans and plastic bottles and a chiller cabinet of empty sandwich packets.

And among the "litter artefacts" on display are old pull-ring drinks cans and an unopened packet of ready salted crisps dating from the mid 1980s.

"We've also got one - Walkers Worcester sauce flavour - that's 28 years old which we dated by the competition," said Ms McAll.

Image copyright Simon Abps
Image caption Elle McAll, from charity Hubbub, said the bottles and cans litter-picked from ancient woodlands were the "real fruits of the forest"
Image copyright Simon Abps
Image caption The 'CON-venience' shop is "open for business" on Friday, Saturday and Monday until 12 July

"People think one little bit [of rubbish] doesn't make a difference but litter doesn't go away. It is a stubborn persistent problem."

Councillor Marrilyn Smart, from the district council, said the authority takes "littering very seriously".

"We encourage residents to visit the litter shop and learn about the issues caused by the irresponsible disposal of waste," she said.

Image copyright Simon Abps
Image caption If the pilot scheme is successful it will be rolled out nationally

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