Trash Walking

disposables, keepers, treasures

A busy week. Educating, crafting, organizing, trash walking

The past week has been busy and I have a lot to say about it. It’s been both rewarding and frustrating, and has involved maybe more time that it should have. The messy state of my own house, the emptiness of my fridge and the fullness of my laundry basket attest to how busy I have been. But it’s been a good busy, and I want to share it.
In no particular order, here’s what I’ve been up to.

I cut the sleeves and necklines off a whole lot of donated t-shirts, and then spent several hours cutting fringes at the bottom of said shirts. I tied the fringes together on a couple, added some splashes of paint, and voila! T-shirt carry bags.
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I took the sample bags and the pile of pre-cut t-shirts to Eco Club on Wednesday, and got grade 4,5,6, students busy tying the fringes. Next week, we can get in to the fun part of using paint to add a touch of uniqueness to each bag. Each student will be able to take one bag as their own, and will make at least 2 more, to be sold as a charitable fundraising effort in December. I brought all tied bags home, and realized that I would have to inspect each one for holes along the knotted “seam”, where the knots were not executed quite right. There are quite a few that need re-knotting. Bless these kids, I thought this was going to be a fun and relatively easy craft. It’s turning in to a little more work than I anticipated, but the bags are going to be unique and useful, and will hopefully be consciousness raising among the kids and others in the school community and beyond. Hopefully they will inspire conversation about plastic bags. They will be Eco Club’s humble effort at reducing our plastic bag use in good old Port Credit, Ontario.

The last minute cancellation of planned guest speaker at Eco Club had an unexpected result. Upon learning that our guest was unable to attend the meeting, I had to quickly come up something else to do with the students. Since I have been regularly grabbing trash in the school yard, photographing it, and posting it to my trash walking FB page, and since I expected that the amount of candy and snack wrappers would dramatically increase after Halloween, it was a no-brainer to focus on school yard litter for this week’s meeting. With the approval of the principal, we held a trash pick up which included data collection of types of litter found. As well, students wrote and read anti-litter announcements to the student body and created and displayed anti-litter posters throughout the school. Here’s what was picked up on that first day. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but there were well over 200 pieces of trash.
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This impromptu activity has happily evolved into the launch of an ongoing, voluntary “Litter Brigade” at the school, and I worked with the principal throughout this past week on figuring out the logistical details of it. It took a fair bit of effort and time, but I think it is going to be a wonderful permanent component of Eco Club. The two litter pick ups completed so far have definitely been eye opening for the students and staff. We may have to iron out a few wrinkles, and make a couple of tweaks to the process, but I’m really pleased so far. We’ll continue to touch on the subject of litter throughout the school year and will be able to relate it to other segments of Eco Club as we proceed.

I did also find some time to do my own trash walking. I won’t go in to great detail about that, because it was really just the usual stuff, sadly. Taken from an empty lot in my neighbourhood that no one seems to take responsibility for. There was a lot there. I took photos and posted pictures to FB, in an album simply titled Lots of Crap. https://www.facebook.com/cindytrashwalking
A mom friend told me a couple of weeks how great I was for doing trash walks, and then went on to explain that she doesn’t have it in her to pick up other people’s trash. She’s a good person, and she loves our neighbourhood. So, I’m working on her. I intend to show her that she does have it in her. We all do. Do you have a friend who you really appreciate, who shares your views on so many things, but who you feel you need to enlighten or wake up in some way?
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Peace.

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Follow up, links, and a call to action.

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First, a follow up to my last post.  Not exactly about litter, but something to think about.  After a week of saving wasted food, here’s what is in the bin in my fridge.  I changed the rules a bit, because I realized that it wasn’t fair to my son to single out his waste.  That the experiment would mean more to all of us if we kept all of our wasted food, to see how we fared as a family.  Not great, but not bad for a week.  He definitely doesn’t like this experiment, and  is doing a much better job of eating his lunches, which is how this experiment came about in the first place.  The two chicken nuggets weren’t Noel’s waste, my wife just cooked a few too many.  We saved them to eat the next day, but they ended up being knocked on the floor by accident, so went in to the bin.  In our house, we do usually follow the “ten second rule”, but these were covered in cat hair, so the rule went out the door.  The raisin bread was totally my doing.  I toasted them, then got doing something else, and they were stale in the toaster by the time I remembered them.  I’m going to continue to keep a wasted food bin in my fridge, and see if we can go an entire week, without any deposits to the bin.  Quite eye opening, really.  Probably another follow up coming.

On another note, back to trash walking.  I continue to pick up litter daily, some days as a dedicated trash walking exercise, and other days while I am out and about, I pick up at least three pieces.  There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t retrieve something.  I am becoming more aware of others doing the same thing, and am “liking” Facebook pages dedicated to the same idea as my humble attempt at cleaning up and educating.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is currently running a series on illegal dumping across our country.  Mind blowing and disgusting.  Here’s a link to the original story.  Follow their links to see a follow up story, as well as pictures sent from across Canada in response to it.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/illegal-dumping-why-do-so-many-canadians-trash-canada-1.2795046

Canada is breathtaking in it’s beauty, I think we can all agree on that.  Trashing it is not only illegal, but unconscionable.  Thankfully there are many, many individuals and organizations out there who are tackling the problem of litter.  I have mentioned some of them in previous posts, and will do another post soon listing more.  In the meantime, here’s a Canadian group dedicated to cleaning the areas along the escarpment in Hamilton, Ontario.  Just down the highway from me, it is full of beautiful natural areas that are constantly being trashed.

http://escarpmentproject.ca/

Find other groups on social media, google “anti litter organizations” and you’ll come up with all kinds of information.  More importantly though, get out there and tackle the problem head on.  Pick litter up in your neighbourhood, get your family and friends involved too.  Talk about the problem and learn about initiatives where you live.  I’d love it if you’d post your litter pictures to my trash walking Facebook page.  Join me. Let’s do something together.  All it takes is to get started.

https://www.facebook.com/cindytrashwalking?ref=hl

I’ll leave you with a few photos of what I’ve picked up recently, all from around the perimeter of my son’s school.

Happy Trash Walking all!

Peace.

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