Pick up litter, get air miles – smart!

Recycling litter funds honeymoon

John and Ann Till on honeymoon

The Tills’s story emerged after they sent this picture to their local paper

A couple spent three months collecting and recycling litter to pay for their honeymoon flights.

John and Ann Till, from Petersfield, in Hampshire, took thousands of cans and bottles to a recycling centre at a nearby Tesco supermarket.

For every four recycled items, they earned a reward point which was then converted into BA air miles.

They amassed 36,000 miles, which they used to fly back in business class from their US honeymoon.

Enough rubbish

The Tills came up with the idea while buying petrol at Tesco in Havant, where an automated recycling unit that gives loyalty-card points had been installed for a trial period.

They had enough money for a Queen Mary 2 cruise to New York but could not afford the flights home, so the couple started scouring the streets of their home town for rubbish, clocking up the miles for their dream honeymoon.

There was enough rubbish out there to fly us to the moon and back

John Till

Mr Till, 31, a railways communications manager, said: “We wanted to make our honeymoon special and were trying to think of ways to raise money for it.

“I saw on the machine that you got a Tesco Clubcard point for every four items you put in. For every 250 points you got 600 British Airways miles.

“We worked out that it would be possible to turn rubbish into our flights – as long as we had enough.”

Mr Till said they had collected almost every night for three months during spring.

They had rarely been off-duty, he said, even taking the long route home after a night in the pub.

Sometimes we were posting 600 items a time into the machine

Ann Till

“At the very beginning, we were concerned it would not be achievable, but then we saw the amount of rubbish out there,” said Mr Till.

“It’s not to say the pavements were awash with litter, it was when we looked over walls and in the undergrowth.

“There was enough rubbish out there to fly us to the moon and back.”

The couple spent hours “force feeding” the machine and maximised their point-earning potential by cutting cans in half and claiming other people’s recycling leftovers.

Mrs Till, 24, a merchant navy navigation officer, said: “Sometimes we were posting 600 items a time into the machine. We would be there for hours putting stuff through the slot.

Litter louts

“I remember it was snowing one evening and it was freezing cold and there we were chucking stuff into the machine.”

They reached their air miles goal in May, which covered the bulk of their £3,000 business class flights.

We have got a set of environmental targets and it sounds as though the Tills were almost hitting those single handedly

Tesco spokesman

They married in August, then sailed to New York on the Queen Mary 2 and travelled to Denver, Colorado and Nashville, Tennessee, before flying home from Atlanta.

Their recycling feat came to light after they e-mailed a honeymoon picture to their local paper – the Petersfield Post – as part of its Read Around The World competition.

“While it was nice to get the rubbish for the good cause, it was disappointing to see there are clearly a lot of litter louts in our town,” said Mr Till.

“But it did raise a smile when we were in business class on the flight back to Gatwick to think that the litter louts of Petersfield had paid for the pleasure.”

Tesco spokesman David Nieberg said the automated recycling machines were being trialled in a few of the larger UK stores.

“We support all our customers who wish to recycle,” he said. “We have got a set of environmental targets and it sounds as though the Tills were almost hitting those single-handedly.

“If it helped them go on honeymoon even better – we congratulate them on that.”

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