Litter Legends' Layne Utz says Redlands rubbish problem has returned in full force post-COVID

KEEPING IT CLEAN: Litter Legends founder Layne Utz says awareness is the key to a cleaner Redlands.
KEEPING IT CLEAN: Litter Legends founder Layne Utz says awareness is the key to a cleaner Redlands.

COVID-19 restrictions easing has brought a fresh onslaught of littering, says the Thornlands teen behind Litter Legends.

Litter Legends founder and organiser Layne Utz- who runs weekly volunteer clean-ups - said the pandemic had offered a brief respite for the environment but the Redlands' rubbish problem was now as bad, if not worse than it was before the virus struck.

"COVID sort of worked out well for the environment, for a little while," he said.

"People were in quarantine for a few months and obviously they weren't going outside so not as much rubbish was ending up in the environment, but as soon as quarantine got relaxed you would instantly notice a difference."

Regular volunteer Andrea Stanley said COVID-19 had deterred people from picking up litter they found.

"To be honest, after COVID hit when I saw rubbish I would stop picking it up because I didn't want to touch anybody else's stuff," she said.

"I think rubbish has actually gotten worse."

LITTER LEGEND: Mr Utz with his rubbish collecting contraption.

LITTER LEGEND: Mr Utz with his rubbish collecting contraption.

Mr Utz said some popular spots around the Redlands, including the Wellington Point reserve, had been especially bad when restrictions first eased.

"Everywhere's bad," he said.

"Definitely where smokers are tends to be the worst (as well as) carparks, benches.

"When I went to a hospital in Brisbane you couldn't even see the mulch in the garden, there were that many cigarettes.

"Anywhere where people congregate and sit tends to be a hotspot."

After spending more than 30 weeks cleaning Boundary Road, Litter Legends volunteers are now tackling German Church Road and the Redland Bay marina.

"We've had some interesting finds," Mr Utz said.

"We found 19 tires in 1.5 kilometres of road. We also had a sail boat mast."

More than three months after council elections, Mr Utz and his team also came across two campaign signs.

He said awareness was the key to a cleaner Redlands.

"It's all about education for the people that are littering and being negligent. Just take the initiative, that's all it is."

ENVIRONMENT: Volunteer Andrea Stanley with Layne Utz, showing off the volunteer vests.

ENVIRONMENT: Volunteer Andrea Stanley with Layne Utz, showing off the volunteer vests.

The two-time Redlands young citizen of the year nominee works full-time and spends his spare hours posting on the Litter Legends Facebook page, organising clean-ups and raising awareness.

"It's tiring at times but it's worth it," he said.

Mr Utz has his sights set on expansion, with Litter Legends recently raising money for a trailer to cart collected rubbish to the tip.

"We've had a great response from community," he said.

"I would love for it to be a non-profit organisation in the future."

To join a clean-up or for more information, visit the Litter Legends Facebook page.