6 ways to fight litter and plastic waste that don’t feel like a chore

Clean me written on a beach in rubbish (Alamy/PA)
Clean me written on a beach in rubbish (Alamy/PA)
11:51am, Thu 08 Apr 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Seeing marine litter floating in our oceans isn’t just ugly, it poses a huge threat to wildlife – damaging coral reefs, entangling mammals and harming our ocean ecosystems.

In an effort to continue the fight against plastic, campaigners Surfers Against Sewage are launching a ‘million mile beach clean’ in the hopes of inspiring 100,000 people to clean up their local beach, river, street or green space.

If you’re keen to roll up your sleeves and get involved, there are ways to make handling other people’s discarded trash less of an irritating job…

1. Do a two minute clean whenever you arrive somewhere

As the saying goes, every little helps. You don’t have to be on a mammoth litter pick to make a difference to your local area. Instead, set a two minute timer and speedily pick up any rogue bits of litter you see when you arrive at a beach or beauty spot. Make sure to carry thick gardening gloves with you, as they’ll protect your hands from dirty or sharp objects.

2. Make it a competition

Children love getting involved in litter picking, especially if you turn it into a game. You could set a challenge to see who can collect the most amount of litter in a short space of time. Or, send them out on a scavenger hunt to find a specific item, like a crisp packet or plastic bottle – the first person to collect it wins.

3. Start an Instagram account

You don’t need to share your good deeds on social media for them to count, but let’s face it, sharing a selfie or two can incentivise you to get out and do your bit. Plus, if your friends see you posting about all the plastic you’ve collected, it might just encourage them to do the same.

4. Make it part of your fitness training 

‘Plogging’ is a Swedish lifestyle trend that involves jogging and picking up trash as you go. Whether you like to run in a park or on a street, picking up trash adds a full-body challenge for your muscles, as you need to bend, squat and reach to grab litter on your route.

As well as wearing gloves when you’re out litter picking, it’s important not to handle sharp needles or anything containing human waste or potentially dangerous chemicals. If you’re unsure what it is, it’s better to not pick it up.

5. Listen to something uplifting

A solo litter pick is the perfect excuse to put on your headphones, turn off your notifications and enjoy some quality ‘me’ time. How often do you really get the chance to listen to your favourite podcast without the distractions of other people around?

6. Treat yourself to something nice afterwards

A hot latte from the fancy local coffee shop tastes so much better when you feel like you really deserve it. Just make sure to bring your reusable cup so you’re not adding to the single use plastic waste in your area.

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