Bikes, baths and novelty Elvis glasses were among the more unusual items found during this year’s Big Co-op Clean, which took part during July’s Co-operatives Fortnight.
The discoveries were made by co-operatives while clearing up an impressive 768,000 square metres – the equivalent of 154 football pitches – while making a difference to local communities and showing that we achieve more together than we can alone.
Other more unusual items found were scooters, the front half of a car, a long-lost wallet and a set of car keys – as well as piles of syringes and no less than 897 bin bags of general rubbish.
The clean-ups took place between 18 June and 2 July, with 1,220 people participating in 93 cleans on riverbanks, beaches, local parks and in community buildings.
“The Big Co-op Clean captured community spirit and brought people together to really make a difference” said Katie Kipling from Scotmid Co-operative, who organised a clean-up in Cumbria.
Emily Harwood, of the Yorkshire-based worker owned business Suma Wholefoods, agreed: “We thoroughly enjoyed taking part. It was a fine example of how, when working together, we can achieve so much more.”
Co-operatives of all kinds organised cleans from housing organisations like Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, public service providers like Leading Lives and retailers like The Co-op and Central England Co-operative.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, which facilitates the nationwide event, said the Big Co-op Clean is “a great unifier”.
He added: “Participation by organisations large and small meant in the Big Co-op Clean meant that we have had co-ops across the country out and doing what they do best – bringing people together and making a difference in their local area.”