GETTING people to use litter bins and to recycle their household waste has been a target for Barrow Borough Council for decades – but there is still room for improvement.

The borough has been ranked the worst performing area in the North West –and the third worst in the country - for its recycling rate of 19.6 per cent.

Those national tables were based on 2017 to 2018 figures and there has since been an improvement to 28 per cent – and the aim is 50 per cent.

Our Mail archive pictures from the past 30 years show some of the ways the borough and its schools and community groups have tried to tackle litter and encourage recycling.

In August 1999 Margaret Macindoe was the borough’s new environmental projects and recycling officer.

She said 22 per cent of residents took part in kerbside collections for paper waste – which had been introduced in 1996.

She said: “The people who do recycle do it well but a lot of people don’t bother.”

The Mail, on Wednesday, March 20 in 2002, noted: “A Walney beach has been branded as one of the dirtiest in the UK just a week after its neighbour won a rare award for cleanliness.

“Litter pickers from the Marine Conservation Society found hundreds of items of rubbish near South Walney Nature Reserve, although nearby Biggar Bank has just been awarded the Encams blue and yellow flags for the first time in three years.”

South Walney Nature Reserve warden Mick Venters organised the Walney litter clean up.

He said: “Most of it was bottle tops and the like but we found tyres as well.

“We found old carpets, which were obviously fly tipped and29 disposable lighters.”

In 1999 Barrow won a national trophy for a scheme to collect unwanted Christmas trees at the end of the festive season.

It collected an impressive 8,000 trees and in January 2000the figure was expected to be closer to 13,000.

The Mail, on Wednesday, January 19 in 2000, noted: “As the tree recycling points in parks at Barrow, Walney and Dalton borough closed on Monday, contractors for the council estimated that they had collected 24 tonnes of trees – a massive increase on last year’s award-winning 14.5 tonnes.”