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30 Days of Spring Clean

Over Spring Clean Cat, one of our Education Support Officers, challenged herself to complete 30 days of Spring Clean. Each day she took action to tackle the litter in her community to try and make a difference. Read her blog below to be inspired to challenge yourself to take action!

I’ve always been a bit of a Womble and my childhood was spent filling my pockets with all manner of treasure, everywhere I went. 

I’ve heard a lot of people say that clearing up litter is pointless because people will just drop more, but helping clean up stops people becoming litter bugs thems­elves and brings communities together. 

Now that I’m a parent, I take my children out for regular walks in the woods and we always bring our 2 Minute Clean Up bag so we can pick up what others leave behind.  My kids don't drop litter but not because I told them not to, but because they have been on so many Clean Ups, they know how much hard work it takes to clean up someone's mess and how satisfying it is to get it done Sometimes it's not enough to just tell someone not to do something, you have to show them why and clearing up litter has the added benefit of making somewhere look nicer.

So many people say #Scotland is beautiful, both tourists and people who call it home. Scotland is an outdoor paradise with lochs mountains beaches and forests to explore but too many take it for granted and dump their rubbish everywhere. This has to change - we risk losing the thing we love the most - Scotland's natural beauty - because of #litter.

Reading through my diary, it might seem like I’ve picked up a lot over 30 days (it certainly felt like a lot) but it’s barely a drop in the ocean. Over 50 tonnes of litter is dumped on Scottish roadside every single month. we collect 50 Kelpies’ worth of litter every year. That’s 15,000 tonnes, or 250 million items – nearly 50 pieces of litter for every person in Scotland. Or, in other words, 475 dropped every minute.

 

Here's everything I picked up during 30 days of #SpringClean for @KSBScotland: cigarette butts, tins, pants, socks, glass, sweetie wrappers, traffic cones, dog poo, plastic bottles, bin bags, flytipping, rubber bands, plant pots and flytipping.

Day 1: it didn’t take me long to find the first mess that needed tidying up. Our church held a service outside for Easter Sunday and on the way back home I found tissues, snack wrappers and plastic bags dumped in the carpark near the entrance to the woods.  

Day 2: The second day brought more snack wrappers, plastic bags and a broken plant pot

Day 3: Plastic drinks containers, a metal tin and again more plastic bags.

Day 4: I concentrated on recyclables on a regular walk through the woods and found more plastic bottles than I could carry plus some drinks tins.  People are obviously bringing a drink into the woods with them and leaving the container behind.

Day 5: I was in a rush on Day 5 but managed to find a handful of post office bands lying on the street and picked them up. They don’t look like much, but birds think they look like worms and animals get tangled up in them. 

Day 6: Glass. Infinitely recyclable. No idea why glass bottles are just flung into the bushes.

Day 7: It didn’t take me long to find a pile of flytipping, right near the entrance to the woods. If you're having work done on your house make sure your contractor disposes of waste properly and doesn't just tip it in the woods to leave a mess for others to trip over.

Day 8: I took some time out from packing for a holiday to do a Clean Up and found glass, a tyre piece, more plastic, tins, an armful of some kind of paper and one lone welly boot. This did not smell good.  Also: a reminder to always wear gloves or use a litter picker when doing a Clean Up. I forgot mine, and cut my finger.  I also Managed to step in a huge pile of dog fouling and got it all over my leggings. If your pooch poops in the woods you still have to pick it up. No you can't just flick it off the path, or bag it up to hang on a tree. One unexpected problem with not buying bread in plastic bags is that I no longer have a supply of bags in my coat pocket for picking up dog fouling.

Day 9: Had totally forgotten we were going on holiday when I accepted Suzanne’s challenge Just because I'm on holiday doesn't mean I stop cleaning up. In England this time though.

Day 10: Wee two minute clean up on the way to swim this afternoon. Mostly snack wrappers, receipts, and the ever present plastic packaging.

Day 11: Spent yesterday at Blackpool pleasure beach which was really clean and tidy but I found a handful of rubbish nearby and cleaned it up Styrofoam, plastic bag, snack wrappers.

Day 12: One crisp packet filled with cigarette butts for day 12. Pretty much the only litter I could find at our holiday park this afternoon

Day 13: Seems previous guests at our caravan have been using the grass as an ashtray. All cleared up now.

Day 14: Another handful of cigarette ends. Each of these could have been an £80 fine. These aren't going to just disappear - the filters are made with plastic fibres.

Day 15: Back home. I actually couldn't find any litter on my usual path through the woods so I had a dig in a small hill I suspected was hidden flytipping found lots of building waste.  A random assortment of plastic pipes, an old pot, a single shoe, lots of plastic bags and a few drinks containers. 

Day 16: 537 people thought it was OK to drop their cigarette end in the small area I cleaned up today for Day 16 of #SpringClean. Would have been more but my bag was full. Beyond gross. Also found 24 wads of chewing gum.  The absolute worst part about this is that there is a bin very near to here but instead of using it, people have just dropped their cig ends and gum right near the door to an office/café. Wonder what exactly do they think will happen to all that litter?

Day 17: What could be worse than cig ends? How about dog fouling. 28 of them in today's patch. I'll spare you details of the smell...

Day 18: Lorna, you left your coffee cup by the side of the A811 so I found a bin for you. You're welcome.

Day 19: On my cycle home from work I found a traffic cone that looks like it's seen better days!

Day 20: Picked up a plastic bag up on my way home today. Will fill it up with litter tomorrow. 10 days to go...

Day 21: Filled that plastic bag with litter collected on my street. Most of this has likely blown out of bins but not all. Filled the bag, recycled what I could then used the bag again to collect a dog foul on my neighbour's driveway. #SpringClean Day 21 is in the bag…  (see what I did there?).

Day 22: I had a buddy for today's Earth Day Spring Clean – my six year old son. We really had to hunt hard to find litter this time but I lost count of how many dog fouls we collected. Lovely evening walk and a good deed done too (and we met a lovely dog).

Day 23: Today’s Spring Clean was a pile of litter hiding under a hedge. Crisp packets, plastic bags, and small bits of plastic. Plastic is everywhere!

Day 24: It's getting increasingly difficult to find litter on my usual path through the woods so I walked around the block and collected cigarette ends, crisp packets, tins, bottles, glass, dog poo, straws, & a wheel. Found another carrier bag and filled it too. Half of what was collected was recyclable.  None of it should have been there in the first place.

Day 25: Lovely night for a walk, so I went up hill around the block tonight and filled a bag, then down into the village and filled it again. All the usual suspects: tins, dog fouls, ciggarette ends, plastic bits and crisp packets.  The nicest thing about tonight's Clean up? Four people stopped to thank me. One was a young person who goes to the local school who stopped playing basketball to help me pick up a crisp packet near the playing fields.

Day 26: Tonight's haul was nearly all recyclable including a handful of pens. Collected mostly by my 9 year old daughter who hates litter even more than I do

Day 27: Plastic bits blown into the school garden and a broken flower pot collected during a gardening afternoon at the school.

Day 28: Spent the day in town with a friend, but still managed to fit in a Clean Up. Someone left a drinks tin behind so I threw it out for them.

Day 29: Took a walk up to the castle and found yet another handful of rubber bands.

Day 30: Last Spring Clean of April was a gross assortment of smelly things and some recyclables. Hooray! That's 30 days in a row. Imagine what a difference you could make if you picked up one or two things every day.

 

 

05 June 2018

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