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Our Earth Day Litter Cleanup

May 08, 2019 0 Comments

Our Earth Day Litter Cleanup

For the second year running we hosted an Earth Day family clean-up in collaboration with Judith Blanchette and the Muskoka Green Team. We truly believe that involving children in regenerating and caring for the Earth is some of the most positive work we can do, making this event so important! The children come away from it so proud!! Getting our boots on the ground and our hands involved in the work together, no matter how young or old, invests our hearts in the process. Together we will grow towards solutions and an attitude of action, empowerment and sustain-ABILITY!! Children have the most beautiful outlook of positivity and a true desire to do right by the Earth, and they believe (rightly) that our actions make a difference.  

Read on for some quick tips on hosting your own cleanup:

  • We walked a popular shoreline trail for our cleanup in an effort to pickup litter before it finds its way into the lake. Another great spot for a pickup is parking lots (particularly grocery store lots)—wide open spaces with little tree and plant cover means the wind spreads the litter far and wide!
  • Rather than use more plastic bags, we choose to reuse cardboard boxes we receive at the store with shipments to collect the trash. You can collect used, good-sized boxes from grocery, liquor and furniture stores in your area.
  • Ask everybody to bring a pair of washable and reusable gloves to avoid creating more trash with plastic gloves.
  • Always instruct kids on what is safe to pickup and when to ask an adult (if they find broken glass, needles, rusty cans, etc).
  • Have hand washing available or at least nontoxic hand sanitizer.
  • Set up a sorting station with extra empty boxes—when groups return with their litter make things easier for the organizer by sorting into seperate streams of paper, containers (glass, plastic and metal), garbage and cigarette butts. You can even have someone tally the results and use the data to publish your results in a local media outlet, petition local businesses to offer better takeout containers, or petition the district for more recycling and waste collection bins.
  • For cigarette butts, collect them seperately and mail them to Terra Cycle for proper recycling. 

Clearly this spray-foam can has been hidden in the bushes for a long time given the degradation of the can, however it is also a testament to how long things persist in the environment without breaking down!

Leaving no stone unturned!

A foam toboggan from the winter which is not recyclable—this year we needed a sled for Charlie, so we searched high and low for a plastic-free, recyclable version and finally found this one!

Can you believe we found a garbage bin floating in the lake? The irony! Of course we proceeded to fill it with collected litter!

The most commonly found items during our pickup (and any that we've ever done) of course were drink containers, from coffee cups and soda cans to water and beer bottles. The solution is so simple—bring your own cup and water bottle everywhere you go!

We also found lots of broken and discarded sand toys.

Never missing an opportunity to observe wildlife—this is another beautiful thing in getting kids involved in stewardship as they learn to observe and appreciate nature so much more, truly caring what happens to it.

Starting to pile up!

Cigarette butts collected—we will add to this box and send it to Terra Cycle when it's full.

Our happy group!

Play time! 

 Photos by Danielle Taylor for Sustain.