As I walked around my neighborhood today doing errands (I don’t go to work most Fridays), I noticed a lot of trash, mostly plastic, along the sidewalks and in the gutters. And with that photo of the dead albatross whose stomach is full of plastic pieces burned into my brain these days, it’s physically hard for me not to reach down and start picking it up.
I wrote about “eco-running” in the beginning of August, where runners carry bags and pick up trash on the route. And Scott from Least Footprint set up a Google Group called PUP (Pick Up Plastic) Brigade to organize folks to pick up plastic in their neighborhoods.
I picked up a lot of plastic today (bottle caps, plastic bags, drink lids, straws, snack bags, even the face plate from a cell phone and a toothbrush) and used one of the dirty plastic bags I picked up to carry it all and dump it in the trash. And yes, I washed my hands afterwards! I know I’ve said I don’t like to throw away plastic bags, but these were already garbage in the street. The landfill is better than the storm drains leading to the bay.
I also scored a bag of sunflower seed shells for my compost!
So instead of a discussion question, I have a challenge. Go out and pick up some plastic in your neighborhood this weekend. If you live in a fairly urban place like I do, it won’t take long to gather a bagful. Spend as much or as little time on this as you want. It doesn’t have to take up much of your weekend.
And you’re allowed to wear gloves if you feel you need to. I did the first time I went eco-running, but on today’s walk the dirt didn’t bother me as much. Maybe because I’d been listening to Barbara Kingsolver talk about dirt in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Hands are washable.
When you’re done, come back and report what you found. If you are able to upload pictures, even better!
And here’s today’s update on the Trash Challenge.
P.S. I’m so excited. I think it’s started to rain finally!
P.P.S. I almost forgot. I and a member from Green Sangha will be tabling at the Temescal Farmer’s Market this Sunday with a big display called “Rethinking Plastics.” This display usually lives in Marin, but the Marin chapter has been kind enough to lend it to us for this weekend. If you live anywhere near Oakland, CA, please come out and visit us. The Temescal farmer’s market is at the bottom of Claremont Avenue near Telegraph in the DMV parking lot. The hours are 9am – 1pm. Hope to see you.