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Free coffee reduced the rubbish on the mountain

Greater interest in nature, but less litter. This is how the summer of 2020 at STF Storulvån’s mountain station in Jämtland can be summarized. Clearer signage, free garbage bags and coffee breaks have been a successful strategy for minimizing rubbish along the hiking trails.

In 2017, 2018 and 2020, Håll Sverige Rent (Keep Sweden Clean) and the Swedish Tourist Association (STF) have counted rubbish along a kilometer-long hiking trail at STF Storulvån’s mountain station. On three occasions a year, they have walked the distance and counted how many rubbish objects are along the trail.

Ahead of the summer season 2020, Håll Sverige Rent and STF made several preventive efforts in about twenty places in the Swedish mountain range in the form of, among other things, set up bag boxes, wooden boxes where hikers can take a garbage bag before the trip and clearer signage. At STF Storulvån’s mountain station, you also got free coffee with a bun when you handed in your rubbish. The extra rubbish efforts have this year been made possible through a collaboration with Naturkompaniet, which has financed the Rena Fjäll (Clean Mountain) project.

The result in Storulvån: From 2018 to 2020, the amount of rubbish along the stretch decreased by four-fifths. From 117 pieces of rubbish per kilometer in 2018 to 22 pieces of rubbish per kilometer in 2020. So through simple measures, the trend of littering has been broken.

“This is a very exciting result. Now we know that fairly simple preventive measures can have a powerful effect. We hope that we will have the opportunity to continue to make the mountains cleaner next summer as well,” says Johanna Ragnartz, CEO of Håll Sverige Rent.

During the corona pandemic, interest in hiking and nature increased. On STF’s website alone, 60 percent more people searched for the word hiking during the spring / summer compared with last year.

“This summer we have seen many new visitors in the Swedish mountains, which is fantastic fun. Most people want to keep clean and therefore it is important that it is easy to do the right thing. Thanks to the collaboration with Håll Sverige Rent, we have, despite many visitors, gratifying enough seen less litter this year around Storulvån “, says Daniel Skog, acting Deputy Secretary General of STF.

Photo: Stefan Hamréus