UPDATE: The ‘Can Man’ a litter picking hero – Ady’s Story

UPDATE: Appeal for support

Not all heroes wear capes, some carry litter pickers. Towards the end of 2020 we donated boxes of waste sacks to Adrian ‘Ady’, a litter picking hero in his local community, who takes time out of his own day and money from his own pocket to help clean up his community. Such an inspiring story deserves an update. We caught up with Ady last week who, even despite the colder weather, is still as committed as ever to tackle the rubbish in his area. He has noticed an increase in litter over the festive period, so he certainly has his work cut out for him, which is why he is looking for additional support. Whether that be in the form of equipment or sponsorship, anything that could help Ady in his green mission would be greatly appreciated by him.

He also shared with us that he is hoping to get fundraising from the Helipads4Hospitals towards a collection vehicle for his cans. Although this will not be until later in the year, they are currently raising money for a van to go and collect the cans from people. The target is set at £5,000, with Ady’s equipment being around £2,000 (so £7,000 in total) and the rest to be allocated to other much-needed equipment. If you can donate anything toward this worthy cause and Ady’s journey, head to the GoFundMe page.

Keep up the great work Ady!

Original Story

A small donation from one can mean far more to the other, which is something we learnt when we met waste hero Adrian (Ady). Ady is an inspiring, determined, selfless gentleman who takes the time to carry out litter picks in his local area. Initially focusing on aluminium cans, which is where he received his nickname ‘Can Man’, he now tackles all types of waste. All equipment he uses to carry out his clean ups is taken out of his own pocket, in the aim to help clean up the planet. Once we met Ady, heard his story and saw the brilliant work he was doing and the impacts of it, we knew we wanted to be a part of his journey.

Read Ady’s Story:

“My story started about 9 years ago or so. After having wage cuts at my work I found a way of making some extra money by collecting drinks cans from the street and using a machine at a large supermarket to collect points with. Initially, I started out with a cut-down wheelie bin, but as weeks and months went past this changed to a bike with a trailer to eventually a trike with a large box on it. I was spotted by an off duty local newspaper reporter who was curious as to what I was doing, and he wanted to do a feature on me. This feature went into a local paper and I was instantly dubbed ‘The Can Man’.

Within days I was wanted by TV news companies to do a feature on. I also featured in a Documentary Programme called ‘Litter Wars’ a few years ago. My work was of such a high standard I was nominated for a National Award by Keep Britain Tidy in 2012, in which I duly won the Local Environment Champion Award 2012. In 2015 my life changed with workplace issues I became very depressed, and I lost my job due to redundancy. I decided to give up my recycling work and I left my project and sold everything off.

A few years went past and after having numerous members of the public recognise me for the work I did, I decided to start up my recycling and litter-picking voluntary work. Initially, I built a collecting vehicle which you can see in the picture here, mainly made up of scrapped items including a pushchair, and some bits of wood. It was all painted up and started to put posters on it, here you can see what it looks like today:

In April 2019 I restarted, collecting this time cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles. But all my efforts are on foot now with my trolley. In about 18 months I have already collected and recycled a large amount, including over 15,000 cans and over 4,000 glass bottles, and nearly 4,000 plastic bottles. (Ady tallies them up and leaves the results on his cart for all to see)

I have in the last few months been giving all my aluminium cans to the Helipads4Hospitals project, in which they raise money for the aluminium towards a helicopter pad for Leicester Royal Infirmary and hopefully for the Queens Medical Centre at Nottingham. The plastic and glass bottles both go into my recycling bags for the local authority to collect, I myself do not get any money for this work, it’s voluntary, but I feel it helps my mental state of mind, as it’s something I still have issues with including anxiety.

I’m very passionate about my work which I do on my own. I also report in Fly Tips and in some cases have to deal with syringes and needles and report other environmental issues to the local authority. I feel I want to expand my efforts and do more, but with this becomes a cost issue.

I love doing my project and I am proud of what I have achieved so far, but there is more to do. I would really enjoy having a sponsor or a company that shares in my passion to possibly put some funds into my efforts so I can expand it out again and buy equipment which I need.

Cromwell Polythene clearly believes in my work and it is with thanks for the bags that are donated to me for putting my cans into and bagging up for the Helipads4Hospitals appeal”.

I can be contacted on adrian19733@gmail.com, I’m also available on Facebook too under ‘Can Man’ if you want to speak to me over anything, and I hope you enjoy reading my story here.


If you can help Ady continue his hard work by donating to his litter-picks or even providing him with a form of sponsorship, please get in touch with him.

Good luck Ady and keep up the great work, from all the team at Cromwell!