Ross “binfluencer” Sandra Brown scores a National Trust membership through LitterLotto, but in the spirit of Sandra’s constant generousness she’s decided to gift it. 

Sandra, a dedicated member of the Ross Community Litter Clean up Crew (RCLCUC) and an influential voice on waste management, recently won a one-year family National Trust membership worth over £140 through LitterLotto, an app that rewards users for picking up litter. “I decided to gift it to a family member who has a young family of his own,” Sandra told the Gazette.

LitterLotto encourages users to snap a picture of the litter they collect, offering them a chance to win prizes. “Each time you submit a new piece of litter, it’s another chance to win,” says the app, which is free to enter and supported by brands advocating for a cleaner environment.

Earlier this year the Gazette reported on Sandra’s concerns about the rising popularity of disposable vapes, especially young people. “The market for disposable vapes has grown to a scary level,” she said. Sandra stressed the environmental toll of these single-use electronic items. Local Government Association estimates suggest that 1.3 million vapes are discarded each week. “Nothing these days should be designed without a clear recycling or disposal route,” she added.

She advocates for stricter regulations. “Disposable vapes should be sold in a similar way to cigarettes, hidden behind screens, plain packaging, and cost equivalent based on nicotine levels,” she said. She also called for a return scheme to mitigate littering and hefty fines for businesses selling to minors. “I am really struggling to see any plus points for the so-called disposable vapes, so I would support a ban,” Sandra stated.

While the UK Vaping Industry Association argues that disposable vapes have reduced smoking rates to an all-time low due to their affordability and ease of use, there are fears that a total ban could lead to a surge in hazardous black-market products. Dr Sakthi Karunanithi warns against unchecked and exploitative marketing practices in the industry.

Local councils in England and Wales have also been advocating for a ban on disposable vapes by 2024. This proposal has been met with mixed opinions, but for Sandra and many others, the state of the environment justifies it.