While I love walking in the middle of nowhere, as an outdoors loving girl who has a full time job and a whole load of other commitments (like any other normal person), the majority of my outdoors time is spent wandering around down, along the paths close to the village and city where I live. Unfortunately this means that my walks are very often blighted by the sight of litter; rubbish thrown from cars, blown by the wind, dropped by other walkers. And it really gets my goat.
I’ve written about it before. On a trip to Bridgnorth I was so disappointed to see the town basically covered in litter. And during a recent walk along the Viking Way in Lincolnshire I was disgusted to come across bags of dog poo hung from fencing – I mean, who does that?! It’s not confined to the cities either; just the other day when in the New Forest I collected a ‘decent’ handful of rubbish left well away from car parks and roads – you carried it full that far, it’s not that hard to carry it home empty!
I would simply never dream of chucking litter on the floor. I just don’t understand what makes people think it’s okay. And so a couple of years ago, in an attempt to do our bit to help the environment, Jenni and I instigated The Big Outdoor Bloggers Clean Up, and encouraged our fellow bloggers to head out to so a litter pick to see how much litter we could collect between us.
The Big Outdoor Bloggers Clean Up
For my contribution to our second annual event, I dutifully headed out from my own front door armed with a bag (one with decent handles that I could wash out afterwards and use again), some gloves and my GoPro. I thought rather than explaining how much rubbish I collected using all the adjectives I could summon, I’d show you instead…
I hope to make more little videos like this if you like watching them… let me know by subscribing on YouTube.
As you can see, I collected a lot of rubbish. I was out just under an hour, and could have probably filled two or three more of those bags if I had them with me. The worst area was definitely the verge, and considering how fresh some of the litter was, I’m going to point the finger at drivers chucking stuff out of their windows and school kids discarding their litter on the way home from School. Horrid, horrid, horrid.
In all I collected 95 bits of rubbish, including 64 bits of plastic (primarily bottles, cups, plastic bags, sweet wrappers), plus one shoe sole (as you do), with just one mile walked.
Be Plastic Clever
So what can you do? Well apart from carrying an extra bag when you head out so you can retrieve rubbish that other people seem incapable of taking home with them (I’m making the assumption you are not one of those people… if you are… please grow up!), there are a number of other things you can do to help rid our world of rubbish.
I am a signed-up member of the Be Plastic Clever crew and so do my very best to avoid the big single use plastic culprits – single use water bottles, coffee cups, straws and plastic bags. With a little bit of preparation and organisation it really is quite simple; I carry a reusable water bottle, an insulated tumbler with a lid for hot drinks, a metal straw (that also happens to fit my tumbler for when I want a cold drink instead of hot (mmmmm iced tea), and a cloth bag (or two) for shopping and bits and bobs. Yes, all those things were investments (or presents), and I actually have to remember them, but they are well worth the pennies and actually save me money in the long term Most importantly having these things keep this person’s plastic out of the litter bins.
I love my Klean Kanteen tumbler. Everyone should have one.
The fight against plastic waste and litter is only just beginning. And I am fully aware that it will take the backing of a large number of big companies and organisations to get the problem fully under control. But as with all kinds of things in this life, change starts at home, and we can indeed make a difference. Start small if you have to, but start. Do your bit for yourself and your family and it will help.
Here are some things you can do, starting today:
- Get a reusable water bottle and stop buying plastic bottles of water. Oh and when you’re at home or work, use a glass!
- Get a reusable coffee cup/flask/tumbler for your hot drinks when out and about. Just hand it over when you order – I have never had anyone say no. Or sit in and enjoy your tea in a china cup. How civilised!
- When ordering drinks in a bar or restaurant, don’t forget to say “no straw please”. You don’t actually need one.
- Go on a purposeful litter pick close to home, and put the rubbish you find into a suitable recycling bin to give it the best chance possible of not ending up in landfill.
- Keep a bag inside your bag so if you spot litter when you’re out hiking, you can pick it up so the wildlife don’t get hold of it.
If you want some more tips, I wrote this post a little while ago. And if you haven’t already, give solid shampoo bars a try – I’ve not used a bottle of shampoo since I discovered these from Lush. And if you have any other ideas, feel free to share them below.