WRAG – Welwyn Rubbish Action group

For dates and details of meetings, go to WRAG Calendar

Who are The Welwyn Rubbish Action Group?

A Welwyn Parish Council questionnaire launched at the 2005 Welwyn Festival Families Day showed that there was a general dissatisfaction with the state of cleanliness in and around the Parish.

The late Parish Councillor Christopher Passmore proposed an annual ‘Cleaner Welwyn Week‘, and a Project Team was set up, involving businesses and local organisations.

The first meeting was held one year later in the week following the 2006 Welwyn Festival. The photograph shows six Parish Councillors of the day, with the then Chairman of WPAG Jon Green, Mark Rowley of the Old Welwyn Florist, and a few prominent local citizens, including the unknown photographer.

Priority tasks included clearing the River Mimram of rubbish thrown over the road bridge, and a systematic clean up from one end of the High Street to the other.

But things have moved on considerably since those early days; the clean up team is under new management, is renamed the Welwyn Rubbish Action Group (WRAG) and operates once a month right through the year.

Led by Sarah Butcher, WRAG is affiliated to the National Litter Action Group, and supported by a regular team of well organised volunteers with a more professional approach. Their mantra is simple:

We are all volunteers; people who hate to see the litter that adorns our hedgerows, road verges, pavements and common spaces and want to tidy up.

The team is split into groups each of which is allocated an area of the Parish to cleanup. The team meets at 11 am on the third Sunday each month at the Welwyn High Street Car Park, opposite the Surgery. Litter pickers and bags are provided.

Please go to the WRAG Calendar to checkup on the dates of scheduled meetings.

For all other queries please email

What do you know about Rubbish?

Question 1: Plastic – How long does it take a plastic bag to break down in the environment?

Answer: 10-20 years*

*Some experts say that plastic never actually biodegrades, the pieces just get smaller and the components linger forever.

Question 2: Did you know the follow decomposition rates?

glass bottle – 1 million years,

plastic bottle – 450 years,

aluminium can – 80-200 years,

cigarette butt – 1-5 years.

These items are the most common things found on the monthly litter pick of the Welwyn Rubbish Action Group (WRAG).

More hair-raising facts:

  • 30 million tonnes of litter are collected every year costing the taxpayer nearly £1bn.
  • More than 7,000 animals get injured by litter per year (RSPCA).
  • 80% of the litter in the seas comes from the land with estimates of 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of the ocean.

How You Can Help

WRAG volunteers go out once a month on Sunday morning** and you can pick for as long as you like. Our group is supported by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council with the provision of litter pickers, hi-viz jackets and refuse sacks. Serco collect all the full bags.

We get between 3 to 7 volunteers each pick, but you can pick in your own time if you cannot make the scheduled meeting. It’s usually possible (given the amount of litter discarded by thoughtless people) to fill 2 bags of litter in two hours.

Where You Can Help

Areas covered in Welwyn include;

  • all the link roads around Welwyn adjacent to A1 and towards WGC,
  • School Lane and surrounds,
  • Danesbury Local Nature Reserve and surrounds,
  • Singlers Marsh Local Nature Reserve and surrounding roads
  • any areas that look in need around Welwyn village
  • Digswell Hill and even Ayot St. Peter!

The Benefits of Picking Litter

Some comments from our volunteers;

When I go out on my ‘round’ I see it as a nice walk with a few stops to pick up a piece of rubbish with a picker – you don’t even have to bend down!

To see a clean verge or bit of roadway or wood is so pleasant and like a visual massage to the soul, so it is well worth the repeated effort of volunteer cleaning.

Once you start to see how much litter there is, you can’t ‘un-see’ it. Picking it up might sound a bit disgusting but actually it is very satisfying and good exercise! People often stop to chat and to applaud your efforts. After all, who wants to spend time in a place full of rubbish?

Make it a Date – Join Us

**Want to join in? Go to the WRAG Calendar to get the dates of the next meetings.

For more details go to https://www.cleanupuk.org.uk/

We always meet at 11 a.m. in the car park opposite Bridge Cottage Surgery in Welwyn High Street.