Volunteer environmental group the Eco Rangers, is celebrating a special first birthday, with the Henderson Foodservice coffee brand, Barista Bar® providing ‘keep me’ cups and free beverages to core volunteers in the East Antrim area.
The group was formed during lockdown last October by retired paramedic Abe Agnew (71). What started with only a smattering of people has now grown to be a 1400 strong group including 170 junior eco warriors who carry out litter picking across the East Antrim region encompassing Larne, Carrickfergus, Islandmagee, Ballycarry, Gleno, Glynn and Carnlough.
The Eco Rangers collect over 20,000 pieces of litter each week with the most common items being bottles, tin cans and fast food wrappers. Since the pandemic discarded items such as old masks, wipes and tissues have also become prevalent. The group isn’t funded and relies on partnerships and in kind support from local businesses as well as Mid and East Antrim Council. The team also fundraises to help continue their environmental work.
Abe Agnew says, “It’s fantastic for volunteers to have access to a welcome cup of coffee from Barista Bar®, especially in their ‘Keep Me’ cups which is very fitting to our cause. Our volunteers can pop into SPAR/EUROSPAR/ViVo/VivoExtra outlets for a top up, especially as we head into the colder Autumn and Winter days. A single reusable coffee cup can replace 3000 disposable cups and the Eco Rangers are pleased to promote their use in this way.
“Our Eco Rangers proudly carry out daily litter picking across an area of 650 square miles and have removed thousands of bags of waste material from the local environment in the past 12 months. We have been overjoyed to see the difference our work has made.
“We work closely with Mid and East Antrim Council who supply and dispose of the blue bags we use for litter collection. Building collaborative links with local government, businesses and communities is key to making significant changes in regard to waste and litter and so we are delighted to embark on this partnership with Henderson Foodservice’s Barista Bar.”
Barista Bar® Brand Manager, Keavy O’Mahony-Truesdale comments, “We were hugely impressed and humbled by the invaluable work of the Larne Eco Rangers and were thrilled to be able to support them by donating Barista Bar ‘keep me’ cups and pre-loaded loyalty cards so that volunteers can avail of a well-earned hot beverage of their choice in in participating SPAR/EUROSPAR/ViVo stores in the East Antrim area.
“As a brand we are conscious of the impact single use coffee cups have on the environment and we encourage the use of reusable cups. We launched our reusable cups in 2019 and now there are nearly 80,000 in use across Northern Ireland. They are a key part of our brand message and our commitment to being a sustainable brand.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this new partnership with the Eco Rangers on their first anniversary and want to say a big thank-you to Abe Agnew and all the volunteers for their time and hard work in improving the local environment.”