For some reason I have been so reluctant to write this post. I kept putting it off because I didn’t want to look like I was trying to show off or trying to make myself seem better than everyone else. That is definitely not my intention for this post, so to help me out I am going to start with a story.
Once upon a time, I was on a walk with my oldest son. Since he was my only child at the time, and I stayed home, and he loved to get out of the house, we went on a lot of walks. A LOT of walks. One day we were walking along a road we had been down many times that week, maybe even that day, when a jogger passed by our stroller. In one easy movement she swooped down and picked up an empty, discarded water bottle off the ground and threw it away in a nearby trash can. She never even stopped running.
This small action sparked something in me and turned me into a litter cleaning monster. After that jogger passed by me, I thought, “how many times did I pass by that bottle this week? Did I even notice the bottle? Why didn’t I do what she did?” So I started noticing litter and I started picking it up. At first I started putting it directly into my stroller and then bringing it home and throwing it away, but I soon became a little smarter and started attaching two grocery bags to my stroller (one for garbage, one for recycling) and when I got home I didn’t have to touch it twice. It’s that easy.
At first I didn’t even tell my kids what I was doing, but they soon caught on and started pointing out litter on the ground before we even got to it. It has also started some great conversations with them about what a gift this Earth is and why we should keep it clean and why we shouldn’t carelessly toss our bottles, cans, and fast food bags out our window. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel angry at the people that littered as I’m cleaning up their junk, but it’s not about that for me. I can’t change how they feel about littering, but I can change the way my children see it. I know three little people that will probably never litter.
So here is a challenge, or a fun activity, or something you can start doing (call it whatever you want). Tie bags to your stroller and look at what you can pick up while you walk. You might be surprised at how many things you will find just walking around your neighborhood. Involve your kids and have them point things out and have them help you decide if it’s something you throw away or recycle. It can be fun, if you make it that way!
I have two small pieces of advice though. I keep hand sanitizer in my stroller, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up anything particularly gross, but it’s nice to have it. Also, don’t pick up anything in people’s yards. No matter how much you want to! Even if everything in their yard looks like it should be thrown away. Don’t do it. I just don’t want to get anybody in trouble! 🙂
So, get out, get some exercise and sunshine and make your part of the world look great. You’ll feel good about it too!
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!
This is a great idea. I should do this when I’m hiking. I see a few (very few) pieces now and then. Particularly, because nature is not our backyard or a landfill. I like that you have the 2 tips at the end,
Van, I have started doing this while I hike! I usually don’t find very many littered items (thank goodness!), but you will find an occasional bottle and a bunch of water bottle lids. Thanks for helping keep the mountains clean! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!