What If..


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Some updates based on what we're doing and hope to do with the garden site, and in our wider community

By Erskine Community Garden, Oct 29 2017 11:52AM

If you have a dog, you likely take it out for a walk at least twice a day, or share that duty with others whether family, friends or dog walkers.

The one thing you’ve likely come across while walking around Erskine is broken glass.

We had our dog Cleo, for 12 years. In that time, I don’t think there was a year she didn’t get a cut paw in varying degrees of severity. Caused by broken bottles.

It seems to be a thing here in Erskine, that bottles need to be broken on public walkways. Scattered on the main area, rather than off to the side. Although it’s easier to see if when in the main walking area rather than hidden on a verge.

Why do people smash glass? Rebellion? Because they can? It’s a satisfying way to release energy? In some cultures it’s a good thing to smash a glass or plate after a meal.

In Erskine? Not so much.

I’m not sure those who smash bottles realise the potential damage they’re causing.

Not just to animals but to humans. Young children and elderly adults are more prone to falls. During autumn leaves can be wet and slippery and hide the danger of broken glass.

It somehow seems broken glass is a more anti-social type of littering than dropping a crisp packet.

Is there an answer? There is usually an answer to most questions.

Basketball style bins to throw bottles into? Clear& patterned bins to throw bottles into and create a stained glass/mosaic style collage while safely disposing of the bottles?

Education? Posting photos in posters along the main walking routes to highlight the potential injuries caused by discarded glass?

We don’t know yet the answer but we will work on it as we want our community – all of it whether two or four legged – to feel safe while out walking.

By Erskine Community Garden, Oct 25 2017 02:44PM

The Keep Scotland Beautiful exhibition at Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art.

The garden was a finalist in the photo and logo competition.

Our photo and logo was one of many exhibits at the KSB exhibition, highlighting the effects on the environment of single use cups.

It’s estimated 208 million single use cups are used in Scotland in one year. Just in Scotland. Not the UK. Scotland.

How shocking is that!

Walking around the exhibition it was fantastic to see the work by the schools, giving much thought to their projects.

The overall winner of the school competition was by Sunnyside Primary. It was a very thought provoking piece, the centrepiece being a gannet made from recycled materials.

The gannet’s stomach was see through, displaying items sea and wild life potentially swallow – straws being a main issue.

I’d never given straws a thought before but won’t use straws anymore.

The reason the garden undertakes so many litter picks, isn’t just because litter is annoying. It’s also the impact it has on our neighbours. Human and animal.

We humans just don’t think of the repercussions of our actions

We’d encourage anyone to take part in a litter pick.

It isn’t up to councils to clean up after us – we shouldn’t be dropping litter in the first place.

No bins isn’t a good enough excuse. Carry it home and bin it. Stop relying on SomeOneElse.

Take responsibility and ownership of the issues within your town. Get pro-active and make a difference. Not just to the human population but the other life we co-habit with.

By Erskine Community Garden, Oct 20 2017 09:56PM

The garden. It may look like not a lot is happening but it is in the background. Hopefully you’ll start to see some changes very soon.

We are very grateful to the council for being extremely supportive and encouraging about our plans for the garden.

In the mean time we will continue with our litter picks and trying to offer solutions to issues we face in Erskine.

Dog bag dispensers will be going back out now that we’ve just about completed the case study we were asked to carry out for Keep Scotland Beautiful.

We are also looking forward to getting involved with other campaigns by KSB and in conjunction with Renfrewshire Council’s Team Up To Clean Up.

So where does neighbour come into this.

Well we’ve always believed that the best way for us to show our commitment to the garden, is to practically show our commitment to our community.

Whether carrying our litter picks, designing, creating and distributing dog bag dispensers; asking for bins in areas we litter pick over the years, to help try and negate litter droppage.

Our aim is to say we care, so we do.

We’re not waiting on someone else to do it for us. We’re more than capable of just getting on with it, and hopefully making our town a cleaner and happier environment for all.

Whether human, wildlife or plant life.

Sometimes we take things for granted.

From the refuse collection to the birds and plants we co-habit with, that we maybe do fall into the trap of familiarity breeds contempt? Maybe that’s a bit too harsh but how many times do we really stop and look at what we live next to?

Sometimes we do have to stop and think. That’s maybe when we see a deer, or a robin following us about on a litter pick because it is curious.

Or perhaps on a mild night having a window open and we hear screeching to realise it’s an owl!

Or even a late night walk with a dog, we find ourselves in the position of having bats skimming over the top of our heads!

When we do the litter picks, we have this all in mind. The humans using the pathways, the animals who come out when the humans retreat, and the plant life striving to survive.

That’s why people such as Kat, get down on their hands and knees and pick up glass fragments so our domestic and wild animals don’t get injured, likewise our little humans.

We want to be good neighbours to all that we live beside. We care therefor we do.

By Erskine Community Garden, Oct 17 2017 07:42PM

We get asked occasionally, how we organise our litter picks.

Over the years, we’ve got ourselves into a routine. We have a core group of people who will turn out to most if not all, litter picks, and we all know what we’re doing.

Before we even start the litter pick, you need to pick your area. Don’t try to do a whole village and town in one go. Have a wander around your town. Look at where the main litter areas are.

We always target the main walking routes around the town.

Split your town into zones and decide which one will have the most impact to kick off your litter pick.

The other areas you can schedule in, at other dates if you decide to carry on after your first litter pick.

A day or so before the litter pick, We will have visited the area and taken a walk around to check there aren’t major issues with any of the ground.

We also make sure our insurances are up to date. When conducting a litter pick, a group really should have Public Liability Insurance and perhaps even Employers Liability insurance.

We record our litter pick with Keep Scotland Beautiful, as much in advance as we can – our dates for the first half of 2018 are already on their website.

We contact our local council to make them aware, and we also email them at [email protected] to order litter picking equipment. The council wardens will then arrange a time, date and place to drop off and pick up equipment.

When we finish our litter pick we call the wardens who arrange with Streetscene, the pick up of our bags and items we’ve discovered.

Advertise your litter pick. If you’ve contacted Keep Scotland Beautiful, they will send you posters you just need to put your litter pick details on and ask shops, community centres, etc to display the posters.

If you’re on social media, create an event for your litter pick, and share it on all local pages on Facebook.

On the day of the litter pick, we gather together the volunteers who have turned out, regulars and newcomers.

The regulars want to check in and find out which direction they should go in.

While they’re doing that one or two of us will give a safety talk to the new volunteers.

This consists of what can’t be put into the bin bags; what to do if they find drugs paraphernalia, first aid issues, and if there is any area not to venture into if anything was spotted on the earlier walk round.

We ensure there is a designated first aider with us every time.

We work for 1.5 hours. We find that is a good time to work on an area, without getting to the point of feeling overworked.

Communication is one of your best tools.

Talk to Keep Scotland Beautiful. Use their resources on their website.

Keep your council up to date with what you’re doing. They’ll appreciate your work and will provide you with the essentials to do the litterpick.

Let your community know the what’s when’s where’s and why’s, before, during and after the litter pick. Sometimes the biggest deterrent to littering is a town seeing its own people working hard to keep it clean.

It might take time for the message to get through, but it does make a difference.



By Erskine Community Garden, Oct 15 2017 09:41AM

Our most recent litter pick was on 14th October.

We covered the area from Park Mains High School following the pathways to Erskine Baptist Church; path running parallel to the school towards Lamont Farm; Path running past the sorting office, police station and church of the Nazarene to Bridgewater and around the Erskine Parish Church.

In 2 hours 9 volunteers filled 16 bin bags. We also found half a bicycle, a shopping trolley, wooden post and light fitting.

We are noticing the number of bags we are filling, is decreasing


This may be due to us twice a year returning to these areas. Our reason for doing so is, we target the most commonly used walking routes for those going to and from schools and shops.

We feel however that because we have been working and making the effort, many people are thinking twice about dropping litter:

if you see a place is being cared for, you’re more inclined to think twice about dropping litter.

Sometimes an apathy can take hold and a thought of, ‘’…f nobody else cares why should I? That’s SomeOne Else’s job…’’

We do care.

We do genuinely care about our town and the people in it.

We want to make this a nice place for all and we’re in it for the long haul – 8 years and counting, I don’t think our dedication can be doubted!

We don’t believe in the SomeOneElse factor.

We are the SomeOneElse and will continue to work for and in our town.

To tackle litter, dumping and to bring the community garden to reality.

There are still issues. Broken glass is still a main one. We’re thinking of ways to deal with that, as we believe in being pro-active, not just highlighting an issue.

We believe in taking ownership of the issues and finding a solution.

That has always been our way of doing things, and we will continue with this.

If you want to be the SomeOneElse, get involved.

Come to a litter pick. Attend our meetings. Visit our special events – One Planet Picnic is coming up.

You are always welcome at anything we are doing.

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