Rubbish is everywhere. We’re drowning in it, and with demand for stuff ever-growing, the waste problem is just getting worse and worse. Pointless packaging, single-use plastics, fast-fashion… it all contributes.
Some of what we throw away gets recycled, incinerated or sent to landfill, but a surprising amount doesn’t even make it into a bin. It stays in the wild, where it looks messy and causes environmental chaos, harming wildlife and making its way up the food chain.
It’s time to act.
UK litter picks
Beachwatch is a UK-wide programme run by the Marine Conservation Society to encourage people to clean up our beaches. Clean up events run throughout the year all around the country so getting involved is easy – simply join an existing clean or set up one of your own; bags and equipment are usually provided, but you will need a pair of gloves. As well as collecting rubbish and disposing of it safely, the MCA make a note of what gets collected to help tackle the waste problem.
Worldwide litter picks
For readers outside the UK, organisations like the Ocean Conservancy have events such as the International Coastal Cleanup. You can even download their app Clean Swell to your phone to document the litter you collect when out walking on the beach. Their website also provides plenty of information on how to organise an event if you would like.
You don’t have to join a specific event to make a difference, though; there are many campaigns aimed at making a daily contribution. The 2 Minute Foundation, for example, encourage people to spend 2-minutes picking up litter when out and about. You can even share your finds on social media using one of their now-famous hashtags – #2minutebeachclean #2minutelitterpick #2minutestreetclean and #2minutesolution. For dog owners, Paws on Plastic is a great group that encourages members to pick up a few pieces of litter on every dog walk. It started in Scotland but now has over 9,000 members in over 50 countries – that’s a lot of rubbish collected!
Wherever you live, the litter you see will eventually make its way into the waterways so, whether you join a campaign or not, help save the planet, collect what you can and dispose of it responsibly, ideally in a recycling bin.
Show the Love
There are so many ways to reduce litter on our planet and many are incredibly easy. Of course, the best approach is not to drop litter in the first place and to dispose of all waste responsibly. Other ideas include:
– Encouraging others to pick up litter and setting a good example for children.
– Reduce, reuse, recycle! Reduce how much waste you produce, reuse what you can and recycle as much as possible.
– Avoid single-use products, instead opting for reusable alternatives such as coffee cups, bags for life and straws.
Page written in February 2020 by OneKind Planet writer, Ami Patrick.