There are three simple steps to the #MyPlasticPromise…
1. To try to use less single use plastic items each and every day.
2. To go for a regular Rubbish Walk collecting litter along the way.
3. To try and encourage at least two other people to do the same.
Want to find out more about how you can make the maximum impact with each step? Here are answers to 10 of the most frequently asked questions…
What do you mean by ‘Single Use Plastic’?
Single Use Plastic is any plastic that is generally used once and then discarded. Examples include…
- Plastic water bottles
- Paper coffee cups + lids
- Plastic straws
- Plastic cutlery
- Carrier bags
- Produce bags – e.g. bagged vegetables, bread bags, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, frozen food bags, condiment sachets, most processed food wrapping.
- Tea Bags
- Single serve coffee pods
- Cotton buds
- Menstrual products
- Wet wipes
- Disposable nappies
Why should I care?
Plastic is a fantastic material but we have been, and continue to be, reckless in our use of it. Did you know that an estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of virgin plastic has been produced to date since the mid 1940’s. As of 2015, approximately 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste had been generated. Only 9% has been recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% has accumulated in landfill or the natural environment.
That’s some scary statistics, but when you add the fact that most of that plastic is likely to take 450-600 years to break down, it becomes terrifying. Break down is probably the wrong way to think of it too. Break up is more accurate. Over time plastic will break up into smaller and smaller pieces. These tiny pieces add to the soup of ‘microplastics‘ covering land and sea and it’s when plastic reaches this stage that it becomes its most dangerous. Microplastics cover virtually the entire planet and are ingested by all levels of the food chain. Whether you are aware of it or not, every day you are ingesting plastic to varying levels. Over time this WILL have an affect on your health.
What’s so great about going for a Rubbish Walk?
Where do we start?! Walking is great for your head, your heart and your wallet. Pick up litter along the way and its great for the environment too.
Who needs a gym?! Going for a regular walk is an excellent way to to stay active and to improve your overall fitness. It can be a lot less intense than other forms of exercise so almost anyone can do it. Walking anywhere is good for you but get plenty of ‘Green Exercise’ (walking in green spaces and connecting with nature) is proven to reduce stress, improve your mood, enhances psychological wellbeing and improves your attention and concentration.
Picking up litter as you walk adds an extra element of exercise. The extra bending and twisting can help with flexibility.
Going for a Rubbish Walk can be a great way to combat loneliness and a feeling of isolation. It’s an ideal activity to do with family and friends and it’s a great way to meet new people too.
Picking up litter as you go also helps the environment and keeps your local community looking cleaner and tidier.
In short it makes you feel good while you do good.
What equipment do I need to do a Rubbish Walk?
For a general Rubbish Walk, not much at all. Assuming you already have comfy clothing and suitable footwear the only additional things recommended are a pair of gloves and something to put any litter you collect in as you walk. It’s always handy to have a carrier bag, a jute bag or a bin bag in your coat pocket!
If you intend going for extended Rubbish Walks such as a Beach Clean, River Clean or extended Street Clean then investing in a litterpicker and a bag hoop is a wise decision. The litterpicker makes it easier and sometimes safer to pick up litter and the bag hoop helps to keep your bag open making it easier and quicker to pop any litter inside.
Make sure you follow us on social media and read our blog updates as we’ll be sharing lots more tips and advice on a regular basis about litterpicking equipment and organising larger Rubbish Walks.
Where could I go for a Rubbish Walk?
You can go for a Rubbish Walk anywhere.Here’s a few suggestions to start you off. How about treating the list as a checklist and try to tick each one off as you do it?!
- Around your neighbourhood
- To/from your local shops
- On the school run
- On your way to work
- Around your school grounds
- In a local park
- Along a river
- Along a beach
- In a woodland
- On a nature reserve
I own a business. How can we get involved?
There are two ways you can get involved.
Why not create your own Rubbish Walks group and go for lunchtime Rubbish Walks? It’s a great way to keep employees fresh and alert plus its an ideal way to show your customers that your care about the local community.
Rubbish Walks is completely self funded. We do as much as we can with the resources available but we could do a whole lot more. If you love what we do and would like to show your support by offering funding or sponsorship we would love to hear from you.
Who should I ask to get involved?
Friends, family and work colleagues are a good place to start. Are you a member of a local club? How about asking club members?
If you don’t have a suitable group near you why not start your own? Get in touch and we’ll help you set something up.
How do I encourage others to get involved?
The easiest way to encourage others to get involved is to be as active as you can in your own efforts and then chat about what you are up to with friends and family. Share lots of photos on social media too using the hashtags #MyPlasticPromise and #RubbishWalks.
Try not to tell people what they should and should not be doing (unless they ask you directly for advice of course). Instead, be enthusiastic about your own efforts and share with them what you are up to. Hopefully your enthusiasm will inspire them to think about the issues and encourage them to get involved too.
What more can I do?
Do some or all of the above and you’ll already being doing an incredible job, but if you want to go that extra mile why not try some of these suggestions…
- Ask local businesses to reduce the amount of single use plastic they use.
- Become familiar with the recycling facilities run by your local authority.
- Look for missing opportunities for reducing waste within your community and share your thoughts with the appropriate parish council or governing body.
- Think of something else we could be doing here at Rubbish Walks to inspire others and let us know. We love to hear new ideas and suggestions and will incorporate as many as we can where appropriate.