We’ve been talking about ways to reduce waste in our lives recently, and I want to keep that conversation going for a while. Cutting back or tweaking how we use something is a simple (and cheap!) way to lessen our impact on the environment. However, until everyone is on the same page of taking responsibility for our material uses, there will be some slack we need to pick up for others.
So I had an idea: let’s literally pick up stuff. For others.
Here’s the challenge: go out for a walk each week, starting today (if possible), with a garbage bag in hand. As you walk along, keep an eye out for paper scraps, cigarette butts, and the like and put them in your trash bag as you go. As you do, you’ll have the chance to try to connect with your surroundings by being present (and by cleaning it up). It will benefit your body to get out for even a little exercise, and will hopefully clear your head to face the stresses. And maybe you’ll help inspire more attentiveness in those who see you out picking up litter. Or maybe you’ll start a trend. Endless possibilities.
Making this walk and waste-gathering practice into a habit will benefit you in many ways, but it’ll also make you mindful of making similar changes to live a little greener. As I’ve been working on finding small ways to change (through composting, reducing plastic wrap and baggies for food, finding better alternatives for cleaning the home, and more), this awareness of wanting to live in a more eco-friendly way has become a natural part of my life. The thought of how I can waste less or plan ahead just naturally forms around the idea of “how can I reduce my impact on the environment?” These tiny practices really DO add up!
So I hope you’ll join in on this challenge! As you try this out, remember that you are responsible for your safety, so be aware of your surroundings and be SAFE. Wear gloves, use a pickup stick (one of those little clampy ones, you know?), and if you can’t pick up sharp objects safely, dOn’T do it!! Remember, this is a blog about frugal living, and medical bills are definitely on the spendy side. Also if you’re along a road (or cliff, or beach where freak tidal waves are common), err on the side of safety and only walk (and collect litter) where you feel safe. You can’t make the world a better place if you’re not in it, guys.
One more thing: it’s amazing how much impact one person can make. I collected this one bag of trash along the road I live on. I took 25 minutes, wearing a bread bag on my hand in place of a glove (classy!), and walked along this little side road. In less than a half hour, I had nearly filled my plastic grocery bag. So please get out there, and see what you can accomplish! It doesn’t matter if it’s Wednesday (I’m a sucker for alliteration), but I hope you can make it an enjoyable habit!
If you are on Instagram, follow my Eco-Nomically Emily account there, and share a photo of your #wastewalkwednesday findings! Or a pic of you out on the adventure! I hope to feature a photo a week to build the momentum (and fun) for the challenge!