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Antrim and Ballymena retailers bag up rubbish to keep communities clean

The litter pick team from SPAR Broughshane.

The litter pick team from SPAR Broughshane.

Ten retailers operating in the Antrim, Ballymena and surrounding areas have collected 127 bags of rubbish from some of the area’s most popular spots, as well as the neighbourhoods in which they operate.


At Crumlin Glen, 30 bags of litter were collected by teams from EUROSPAR Crumlin, while SPAR Glenavy and SPAR Glenavy Village ventured down the Broadwater Tow Path and Glenavy Riverside Walk, to collect 24 bags of rubbish. At the Greystone estate, the team from SPAR Greystone brought 16 bags back to be properly disposed of.


In Ballymena, the local SPAR team cleaned up the Doury Road Estate, while SPAR Cullybackey and SPAR Bridge Service Station took away 30 bags of rubbish from the river walk and surrounding areas, including the communal garden. SPAR Galgorm Road focused on Ahoghill, removing eight full bags, and the team from SPAR Randalstown helped clean up the town itself. SPAR Broughshane also filled eight bags from their efforts around Borughshane Waterfowl Park, Harry’s Way and Raceview Mill.


The teams were from 10 of 175 stores that have completed a clean-up of their local areas in recent months. Litter picks have been taking place in almost every town and neighbourhood in Northern Ireland, from Kilkeel to Linaskea, and Limavady to Donaghadee after Henderson Group, which owns the SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO brands in Northern Ireland, invested in kits for each store.

The team from SPAR Randalstown helping clean up the town.

The team from SPAR Randalstown helping clean up the town.

The kits include large bin bags, pickers, high visibility vests and gloves, as well as in-store signage to encourage shoppers to use the bins provided both inside and outside stores. The signage is dotted throughout stores, but prominently displayed beside high litter generating products such as plastic bottles, to continue to remind shoppers to dispose of their waste appropriately.


The early success of the campaign, which has seen retail teams returning 1,626 bags to be disposed of correctly, will see stores continue to help clean up their communities regularly, with focus events taking place annually.


Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Hendersons commented:

“Unfortunately, littering continues to be a plight within every community in Northern Ireland, and there has been little evidence of behavioural change in those who are the serial offenders.


“Operating over 100 stores and supplying to over 400 more in every city, town and village in Northern Ireland, we are committed to making those neighbourhoods great places to live and are delighted to have the resource and volunteers to implement this initiative.


“Littering simply should not be as big a problem as it is. We are very proud of the communities within which our stores operate, and we hope this initiative will encourage a change of behaviour when it comes to disposing of waste, particularly from purchases made at our stores.”


Barista Bar, the retail coffee brand which is available in over 400 SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO branded stores in Northern Ireland has committed to numerous litter picks throughout Northern Ireland, in efforts to reduce the number of single use cups that are not disposed of correctly.


In 2019, the brand launched their own reusable cups and has reached sales of 20,000 drinks per month with shoppers using the Barista Bar reusable cup – an increase of 12% from 2022, to date. There are now almost 100,000 cups in use across Northern Ireland, with 113,000 users registered with Barista Bar’s loyalty scheme, incentivising shoppers to live more sustainably with various rewards available.


Keavy O’Mahony-Truesdale, Brand Manager at Barista Bar added:

“We all have a responsibility help address the issues around litter and we have dedicated a huge amount of time and investment in encouraging our shoppers to invest in a reusable cup to try and make a positive social impact in the communities in which we operate.


“We are committed to being a sustainable brand, and are pleased with the uptake in our reusable cups, however there is still a huge amount of work to be done to change the habits of those who litter on a regular basis. Barista Bar sponsors Walk NI and their associated campaigns, such as Leave No Trace and the Right Side of Outside, to help educate, promote and support Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.


“Our next litter pick with Walk NI takes place on Friday 21 July and we will be planning more alongside our on-going partnership with the Eco Rangers in Larne. This is a long term plan for Barista Bar and we hope consumers choose the more sustainable way to enjoy their coffee, and change behaviours to tackle the litter problem in Northern Ireland.”


For more information on SPAR NI’s Keep Communities Tidy campaign, and for a breakdown of stores and the areas they helped clean up, click here.


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