A HALE resident has been tackling local litter problems - by collecting elastic bands.

Keith Neal, of Carlton Road, collected around 1,000 rubber bands last year while walking around Hale, weighing 660g, discarded by Royal Mail delivery staff. He considers the elastic bands to be an unslightly contributor to the litter on our streets.

Keith, 75, said: “We need to care more for our environment and show, through example, that we can all do our little bit.”

Admitting that while picking up elastic bands throughout the year might seem peculiar, he says it is good exercise for his back.

Keith has been picking up elastic bands for the past three years -- collecting half a kilo in 2012 -- and will be continuing with the clean up.

Each year he returns them to Royal Mail but says he has seen little evidence of any action being taken, despite walking 250 miles a year picking them up.

Helen Bingham, from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Keith is setting a fantastic example to everyone by showing that we can all do our bit to tackle the problem of litter that blights our streets.”

Over the years, the charity has encouraged Royal Mail to play its part by getting its postal workers to keep hold of the bands.

Royal Mail spokesperson Val Bodden said: “We regularly remind our postmen and women of the importance of avoiding litter and the benefits of re-using bands.”

“We re-use millions of rubber bands each year and the vast majority are recycled within delivery offices and mail centres.”