On Sunday 9 October, 17 boys and three teachers gave an hour of their Sunday to participate in the annual Eton Community Association litter pick event. Spanning almost the entirety of the School, our volunteers, wearing their fluorescent kit, split up and trekked through different routes, searching through bushes, trees, and along the ground for all kinds of litter. Among them were the Environmental Action Society, led by Mademoiselle Herbommez, the Eton Action group, and a Year 9 Tutor group shepherded by Mr Couchman. Some notable findings were a car seat window, a Chinese lantern stuck in a tree and around 100 plastic bottles and cans. After the three teams made their way back to the Eton Town Council, they were rewarded with a feast of bacon and egg rolls.

Mademoiselle Herbommez, Co-Director of Environmental Education, spoke with the Eton College Journalism Association to discuss the current litter situation:

Can you describe the litter picking process?

Every year we are invited by the Eton Community Association to participate in litter picking events and we bring boys to demonstrate our commitment to the efforts to make the community better.

Who can participate?

We invite boys from all year groups as well as Tutor groups, teachers with their families and other members of staff at the School – anyone can join and it’s quite a nice day out, especially if it’s sunny!

What is the current litter situation at Eton College?

Although we do see a lot of litter that comes from the street, for example cans that have been thrown into bushes, there are also other items, such as wrapping paper, which have not necessarily been dropped by careless people. There are cases where someone has lost something or dropped something accidentally, but you also see a lot of intentional rubbish along the ground. It comes and goes – there are times in the summer where the litter is everywhere, mainly because of tourists. It’s extremely empowering to do the litter pick, but it is also very heart-breaking to see all this rubbish everywhere, even in 2022, where there are bins on every street! Often, the litter is actually hidden, so when you start looking for it, and you start actually seeing, it is when you realise just how much rubbish there truly is.