The top one is the council stick. I have been out today to test drive them. I used the council stick for an hour this morning, and the other one for half an hour this afternoon. Overall I found the council stick easier to use because the jaw opens both top and bottom, and the round shape is ideal for picking up cans and bottles. However, the bottom stick grips tiny items like ring pulls much better due to the overlap of the plastic covered ends. Both are quite comfortable to use, not too heavy, and you don't have to put a lot of presure on the trigger to get them to grip tightly.
First of all I took a black bin bag out with me and put everything into it, but it soon became quite heavy with the bottles. I want to recycle the clean cans, and plastic and glass bottles, but this means sorting it out when I get back, and of course all the filthy stuff has contaminated the newish items which were still clean as they have only recently been discarded.
On my second session I took a largish carrier bag instead, and this made it easier to carry, then I tipped the rubbish into the bin bag when I got back. I have learnt to turn the drinks cans upside down as I pick them up because they might be full of water if they have been lying there for some time. Also crisp packets can have water in them as well. Tomorrow I'm going to take two or three carrier bags out with me so I can keep the clean recyclable stuff separate. This litter picking is all very technical.
I have been doing a bit of research into it, and I have discovered that pick sticks come in several models with lots of different features. There is the Nifty Nabber, the Trashstick, and the Ez Grabber. Some have a four finger trigger, or a rotating shaft, or a magnetic end. I quite fancy the model with the intellilight, that's a light on the end which comes on automatically when you retrieve something from dark, hard to reach places. Cool eh! You can have non slip flexible rubber gripper cups, a rotating head, and a locking feature, with a choice of length, 24ins, 27ins, or 32ins. Blimey, which one is best, it's almost as difficult as choosing a new dress.
Did you know there is a web site just for litter pickers? You can send your photo and they will put it on. And I was worried that people might think I am a bit barmy, it's comforting to know there are a lot more like me out there, I am not alone.
If I feel this job is a bit beyond me, I can go on a training course with Keep Britain Tidy. I can join their Network, and go to their annual conference in Manchester. It's a pity I have missed this years though, it takes place today and tomorrow. I wonder if they have any litter picker competitions, now that would be exciting :0)