It’s been a little bit since my last CL post and that’s solely because I have been BUSY. I’m currently working an additional seasonal job and fighting off a cold which has had me spending any free time mostly just sleeping, but! I haven’t stopped my Sunday cleanup commitment, even in the nasty rain this week. I debated pushing it off to Monday and writing about the rain and a nasty cold keeping me in, but littering doesn’t stop on rainy days and this commitment isn't going to stop either. The garbage doesn’t say “hey, no one wanted to go outside today, let’s just stay right in place until a sunny day brings some friends to clean us up”. In fact, it more so says “hey, rain...wind...cloudy skies, let’s go for a ride to the closest waterway or waterway entry (sewers, drains, river beds). Then, we can get swept up with the rest of the trash and go for a lazy river ride” (Can you imagine how exhausting it is to be in my brain?). Alas, I got out of my sister's cozy car while she went into the store to get soup and got myself into the parking lot.
The thing about doing cleanups is you don’t have to be on a great hike or kayaking down a river to do one. You can be WHEREVER you are at any time of day. I filled an entire GIANT Go Puff bag (which is a topic for another conversation) with trash in under 21 minutes walking up and down just half of a parking lot aisle at Walmart. Could you imagine the amount of trash that could be collected if there were five of us? Ten of us? Now imagine if all ten of us committed to cleaning up for a full hour. Woah. I can. I can imagine it because I know what groups of people can do. When individuals come together with like-minded goals, the unthinkable is possible and the unthinkable occurs.
Sunday, October 27th is the last Sunday of the month. That means, I’ll have been at my Sunday cleanups for 4 weeks. Want to join me for November? Get a head start by joining me this Sunday, wherever you choose to be, and use #consciouslivingcleanup to show me what you do. With the holiday season coming up, people's lives tend to get a bit busier and it seems harder to find little pockets of windows to do cleanups, but my next post is all about the small amounts of time you can find to make a difference. Stay tuned!
On Monday morning, after looking up when low tide was (which was a lie, thanks GOOGLE!), my mom and I set out to the beach to hunt for some sea glass. We grabbed some reusable produce bags (perfect for sifting out sand) and headed out. Before we got down to the water, we could tell it was not time for low tide, but figured we might as well take a walk along the ocean since we were already there.
With bags in hand, it was inevitable that our eyes would spot any trash we might see, but we did not expect to see quite as much as we had. From plastic bottle caps to sandwich containers, kids toys to beach/boardwalk wristbands, beer cans to cigarettes (yes, on the beach), and so very many in between, the amount of garbage we found in about a 1.5 mile walk was remarkable. We spent only one hour picking up trash, walking from N Street in Seaside Park to the pier in Seaside Heights and back.
I assumed that most of the garbage we were finding was from the night before. However, approximately one quarter of the garbage shown in the photo above was picked up on our walk back. This meaning garbage was brought in from the ocean and dumped on the sand in under one hour. Imagine how many bags we would have needed if we walked the entirety of Seaside Park.
It's simple to see a straw on the ground below you and not pick it up because it isn't yours. In some cases, people avoid doing this for sanitary reasons, but I tend to believe that most people decide they won't be picking it up before they even think about the sanitary aspect of it.
We didn't find any sea glass on Monday. We thought we had found one piece, but we sorted through the trash at home, we quickly realized that piece of "sea glass" was sadly just another piece of plastic.
Happy Labor Day Weekend, friends! What a lovely summer it has been. This weekend, I made a decision to wake up early at least one day and get myself to the beach before the badge checkers to do a little beach cleaning. I was so grateful to have my dad join me this morning at Shelter Cover, NJ, a bayside beach.
We got to the beach around 8:30 which only gave us approximately 30 minutes to get our clean on. While we were pleasantly surprised by how clean the beach appeared (compared to our typical clean at that beach the day after Thanksgiving), we still managed to collect 257 pieces of trash in that short 30 minutes. All of which were able to fit into one small trash bag which only means there are many other parts of this trash floating around somewhere else.
Since there weren't too many big pieces, we decided to collect all of our trash in one bag and sort it later. After sorting it back home, I quickly realized that the recyclable count was significantly lower than that of the regular trash. My mom did the honor of tallying up the pieces of trash while I sorted and I've included a summarized breakdown for you below.
Have you done any cleanups lately? If not, head out this weekend and see what you find. In a short 30 minutes, you'll be surprised how much of a difference you can make in your neighborhood!
TOTAL: 257 pieces of trash
Jamie is a musician, avid lover of nature, and a dog momma living a more sustainable life each and every day.