The Environment Now programme has funded 50 young people aged 17-24 from across the UK with a £10,000 grant to use digital technology to find innovative solutions to environmental issues. The programme is funded by O2 and the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund through the Our Bright Future programme, and is managed by the National Youth Agency.
One of our project leaders, Elliott Lancaster, was invited to attend the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan because of the fantastic work he has done through his project, Utter Rubbish.
The Royal Wedding
Looking back on the experience, Elliott said “It is through this work with Local Authorities that I was invited to the Royal Wedding by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, which came as a complete surprise. I can remember the day as though it was yesterday. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience seeing global celebrities such as George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey, to the Queen and the rest of the royal family. I feel greatly honoured to have been asked to such a special occasion and witness Harry and Meghan getting married.”
NYA Chief Executive, Leigh Middleton, said “It’s fantastic to see Elliott being recognised for the great work he’s done through The Environment Now. His project ‘Utter Rubbish’ has proved to be a great tool for improving education on recycling and waste management. I’m delighted the National Youth Agency, in partnership with Our Bright Future and O2 can offer opportunities to young people like Elliott who are passionate about the environment and improving their communities.”
The Environment Now team would like to congratulate Elliott on his achievements so far since being on the programme. His work, along with all the other innovative projects, are making a real difference to the environment and communities, and it’s great to see this being recognised.
What is the project?
Utter Rubbish was started and developed with funding from The Environment Now programme. The project focuses on improving rates and quality of recycling and waste management by offering improved recycling and waste collection information for household waste services users and a national fly-tipping prevention online reporting service. The software provides environmental, social and economic benefits to the community, local authorities and businesses.
Successes of the project
Elliott was awarded a Highly Commended at the 2018 Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Awards for the Environment/Low Carbon category, and was short-listed for the Morgan Innovation and Technology Prize in January 2018. Furthermore, Elliott and the app featured as a case study in a PRiME report submitted to the United Nations by Keele University demonstrating best practice in embedding sustainability into management education.
How will it help?
Utter Rubbish offer a website and hybrid app that will send notifications to residents about changes in their local services, as well as receiving collection reminders. A unique feature is a function to allow users to upload geotagged images to report fly tipping. This data links to the IOT agenda and will enable local authorities to know, in real-time, where and when illegal tipping is happening so that they can:
a) Prevent incidences of fly tipping
b) Improve vulnerable sites to discourage fly tipping
c) Quickly clean up areas or alert landowners to clean up areas to reduce environmental impact
The website and hybrid app will enable local authorities to reduce costs from clearing fly tipped materials, in terms of administrative and legal costs to pursue individuals and physically clearing and disposing of materials, through helping to reduce incidences of fly tipping occurring. The data collected through the app will also enable local authorities to build cases to pursue individuals and have a higher success rate of prosecuting repeat fly tipping offenders.
Impact on the community
The social impacts of the project have entailed improving communication, through increasing engagement with outreach events. These have included school residential workshops with hundreds of secondary school pupils attending, which also contributes to embedding sustainability in the curriculum and outreach activities. The outreach workshops utilised the app to explore fly tipping, developing the recycling literacy of the participants.