Trash Walking

This is a new habit I’ve added to my weekly routine to help reduce waste in my local area.

One loaded bag of trash. 45 minutes of walking. I’ve made it a New Year’s resolution of mine, or for a better word “goal” – I find New Year’s resolutions rarely stick – to go around my neighbourhood at least once a week and collect up some of the rubbish lying around there.

I’ve been volunteering with cleanup groups around Sydney, helping to clean up trash on beaches, lakes, parks, etc. but I wanted to go a step further and do it more regularly. So, I incorporated the #take3forthesea initiative into my daily walks and began picking up at least 3 pieces of rubbish on my way round. This grew of course, until I started bringing home giant bags of trash to sort out into recyclables and rubbish.

Now, I live in a ‘cared for‘ neighbourhood, so when I started out collecting trash, I naively thought there honestly wouldn’t be all that much to pick up. I was mistaken. It’s been about a month now since I started, and have I got it all? Not even close. The challenging part about it is the plastic items breaking up into smaller pieces and spreading everywhere, making it difficult collect. But I come back from my walks feeling better at the thought that at least the trash is out of our waterways and ecosystems and actually in the bin where it belongs.

This was the creek where I first started collecting rubbish on my walks. It looks deceivingly clean, but once you start looking closely for bits of trash, you begin to spot all the tiny items lying around. I’ve collected bricks, bottles, latex gloves, balloons, cans and plastic bags from here.

Now, I understand that when rubbish ends up in the bin, it doesn’t just vanish. It gets carted off to landfill, but even then the journey continues

More and more trash, plastics, and other forms of rubbish are ending up in our waterways, soil, animals, and even us. The culprit: microplastics.

This is a big reason why I switched to using reusables, to help reduce the amount of waste I generate and live more of a plastic-free, low-waste lifestyle.

So yes. I’ve become one of those people who picks up litter…. for fun! If you want to join me (come over to the Dark Side) and collect rubbish in your area, even if it’s just picking up one piece of trash you see while out and about, I strongly suggest wearing gloves – even better, rubber gloves, as you can reuse them.

Collecting rubbish from around your local area also means you can separate it into categories and recycle some of the items (if you have the time and patience). On my many trash walks, I’ve been able to recycle items such as plastic bottles, aluminium cans, and soft plastics (after cleaning and drying them all thoroughly, first), but mostly I’ve just been finding packaging from fast foods, bits of old plastic bags, broken glass, a few receipts, straws, and a few other items that aren’t salvageable. The strangest thing I found on a walk was an old shoe. For one thing, how does one lose a shoe – like just one shoe? Not even both. The bricks I’ve collected have been upcycled into a raised garden bed in my back garden.

These were the bricks I found whilst on my trash walks, now tucked snug into the edging for my garden bed. It’s a great way to upcycle and repurpose old materials, and give them a new life.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

Have you participated in a beach cleanups or other cleanup day event before? What was your experience? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa