From Red Bull drinkers….may the good Lord deliver us!

It is not my intention to use this blog as a forum for ranting, but I do have a serious issue with some of the Red Bull-quaffing members of our society. Back in 2008, to celebrate my retirement, I cycled form Land’s End to John O’Groats and, in the process, did a relatively detailed study of over 1000 miles of this country’s roadside verges. Of the drinks cans discarded in the hedgerows (of which there were many), by far the majority were Red Bull cans. This led me to zip off an irate letter to the Guardian (which they duly published) suggesting that an environmental tax be levied on Red Bull drinkers, or that something be done to make them (or the company) accountable for the appalling amount of litter in our countryside.

Just a few days ago, when out riding the tandem with my wife, we climbed a short hill a few miles from our home. The ascent was steep but the length of climb was no more than 100 metres. As we laboured to the top, my attention was caught by not one…not two…..not three….not four…..but five Red Bull cans on the verge. In other words, one discarded can every 20 metres. This raised a lot of questions in my mind. Five different drinkers, or the same drinker discarding his/her can on the same stretch? Are these boy-racers who speed along country lanes keeping themselves stoked up on caffeine to intensify the experience? Or are they exhausted company-reps dashing from one meeting to the next, keeping themselves awake as they drive excessive mileage in pursuit of unrealistic business targets? Who are these people…………..?

Am I alone in my grievances against these environmental hooligans? What if this ‘little rant’ were to go viral and the sheer weight of public opinion were to bear down on these offenders? What if……..?


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on November 23, 2011, in Miscellany and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Didn’t Matthew Parris recommend garrotting cyclists for supposedly littering hedgerows?

    • Oh dear…..Matthew Parris again. He will never live down his public rant against cyclists. But Martin, you and I know that cyclists never, never…..throw their drinks cans into the hedgerows!

  2. Does England have a deposit on cans? Perhaps if this were so there would be considerably less litter along the roadside.

    • Olivia, as you can see from Alan’s message, we used to have deposits many years ago, but not today. We have this ideal that everyone will recycle their recyclable rubbish………but of course, that will only happen “in the best of all possible worlds”(Candide).

  3. I am delighted that you are raising this subject. Since joining the Thursday group I have been able to witness the appauling amount of trash littering our verges especially cans.
    It is time we took action and campaign that the govt impose a deposit for all cans purchased with a minimum 10p per can return value.
    Having just returned from a cycle challenge in Vietnam I witnessed that same problem and if a returnable deposit was charged for all cans not only would it reduce this mindless waste and improve our enviroment but would give an opportunity for these cans to be cleared up as people would start to gather these cans for the returnable deposit.
    PS During the 50’s and 60’s many drink bottles had a returnable deposit and it worked very well. kids used to go out hunting for discarded bottles to get the 1 or 2 pence in those days and it helped keed the countryside and streets tidy.
    I will talk to Keep britain Tidy to see what they are doing about it !!
    Alan Beavan

    • Alan, I can see you are a man of action, not just of words. I applaud absolutely everything you say. Those who litter the countryside (Red Bull drinkers or not) need to be penalised.

  4. Red bull cans also abound in Northamptonshire.
    We found we were becoming so angry while out walking/ running/cycling that the only solution was to collect them and turn the anger into a positive action.
    Pat went walking and collecting but collected so many he had to ring me up to collect him. Using the car felt as though we were defeating the object but it had to be done.


    • You know, Therese, the same story is coming through from so many different quarters. You and Pat (exceptionally) did the right thing in collecting them, and you must be applauded. But a question I have is this: to get the message through to those concerned, on whose doorstep should these discarded cans be dumped? Hope you are both keeping well!

  5. We had thought that if we collected them regularly it would provide us with a pension. The little regard that some of today’s youth show astounds me, I thought we children of the seventies were the enlightened generation, unlike past generations who had little evidence of the damage they were causing (they probably weren’t causing quite so much as us anyway). I suspect there are still sections of the population that don’t connect with the society they live in or the future that they hope for their grandchildren.
    Both well at the moment thanks.

  6. Frank, This whole problem is caused by you kind folks driving on the wrong side of the road and calling the shoulder a “verge”. Simple solution: Switch to the Continental side of the road driving and…. (Just kidding!)
    It is simply mind boggling that politicians and bureaucrats would deduce that everyone would become environmentally conscious and not discard drink containers but recycle. I lived in the state of Maine in the early 1970s when a “bottle bill” was passed putting a deposit levee on all soft drink and beer containers regardless of one use or reusable. The difference in the amount of rubbish on the verge was astonishing once the law went in to effect. In the USA $60 billion is spent on soft drinks per year and most is sold in “one use” containers. Can you imagine how bad our highway and road sides would be littered if most states did not have bottle deposit laws. While cycling in the Slovak in 2008 I noticed that the roadsides there were simply ‘trashed” also. A world wide massive problem. Good luck with any campaign to improve the situation.

    • Yes Joe, some of us have a chip on the “shoulder” which “verges” on the manic………..;0) Talking about which side of the road is the ‘correct’ one for driving/cycling…….. for long-established historic reasons, the left is obviously correct (and not just because it is British!). In days of old, when knights were bold (and mostly right-handed) they rode their horses to the left of on-coming horsemen/enemies to be able to defend or attack with their lances or swords in the right hand. It also explains why boy-racers today steer with their left hand and have the right hand dangling carelessly out of the window………obviously expecting to attack the on-coming enemy with their iphones!

      • Now if some sage can explain why the drive train on bicycles is located on the right side of said machine I will drop this discourse….

      • ……rather than give some flippant (and inaccurate) reply to that question,I too would like to know the answer. However, I’m 50% certain that when Kirkpatrick MacMillan invented the first velocipede, he was more than 50% in favour of putting the drive train on the right hand side……but I could be 51% wrong on that.

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