Trashtag: do it for the gram AND the planet

As we neared Keeping Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean movement (22nd of March – 23rd of April), we were really excited to see that the power of social media taking the cause even further afield and we wanted to give it a boost so that it can continue to thrive. Rarely do we get the opportunity to prove that internet trends are more for the future than for a fad, so please join us in spreading the message to as many Baby Boomers as possible (Trashtag)!

Via Keeping Britain Tidy – join a clean-up near you, or organise one if you’re in a gap on the map!
This article is in no way endorsed, but we’d definitely recommend downloading the Litterati app – if only to shove it in people’s faces when they tell you that picking up one bit of rubbish won’t make a difference. You can add to the ‘digital landfill’ in your own location and tag what you’re picking up, so that the most common items can be clamped down on. The sense of competition adds that missing bit of je-ne-sais-quoi, too!
Despite the UK having some of the strictest littering and fly-tipping rules in the world, it’s left to the local councils to enforce the laws and the funds just aren’t there. If you don’t want to do it for the government, then do it for the animals and the future generations and get involved with #trashtag. Read on to see what to look out for and why you should get behind it!

We set off armed with bags and biodegradable gloves, and we cleared as much as we could from the hedgerows near our office. There were a few repeat offenders and dangerous items, as well as some things that could easily have been recycled had the effort been made to take them home. Keep your eyes peeled for:
 Six-pack ring holders: animals can get stuck in the rings and it can hinder feeding, breathing and growth
Broken glass/sharp metal: this poses a danger to both the animals and yourselves!
Ring pulls, including those from milk/juice cartons, have small holes that animals could get stuck in, so make sure you snip them before you throw them away too!
Plastic bags: animals surrounded by plastic bags are at serious risk of suffocation
Recyclables: glass, cardboard, cans, plastic bottles… anything that you can prevent from going into landfill helps!
Small containers e.g. jars: small animals can get their heads stuck in these, especially if they contain food, leading to suffocation
String/twine/fishing line: this can get wrapped around limbs or can be a choking hazard if swallowed
Chewing gum: this is often mistaken for food and once eaten can lead to choking, suffocation and feeding problems
Cigarette butts: these are the single most common form of litter and harmful toxins leak out of them into the environment

And to make it even MORE fun (who’d have thought that was possible?!) we had a go at our litter picking heroine MakeLitterPickingCool’s Litter Picking Bingo – give it a go and comment your score below!
MakeLitterPickingCool kindly agreed to bless us all with some words of wisdom too: 

“Everyone can make a difference by litter picking, and that’s the great thing about it. Just by picking up one piece you could be saving our wildlife from being affected by it. Not only will you be positively impacting your community, countryside, beach, or wherever you pick, but you’ll also experience a sense of achievement and be comforted with the knowledge that you’ve made a difference. One piece is all it takes to get that litter picking buzz and make Litter Picking cool!”

Remember to stay safe when picking up litter: wear a reflective vest near roads, always walk on the right in the UK, use gloves and wash your hands afterwards, wear suitable footwear and long trousers to protect your ankles and use a litter-picker to stop you from coming into contact with any sharp or hazardous materials.
Whilst picking up litter works wonders on a smaller scale, we can’t keep blaming ourselves as individuals for putting the Earth in danger. Plastic straws are bad, but using plastic-free alternatives to straws isn’t a miracle cure. We’re getting there as a society, but we can’t keep pretending that this can be solved without nipping it in the bud! 

DeepGreenResist via Twitter

Telling corporations that you’ve got a litter to pick with them instead of a bone to pick might even get the Peta seal of approval for being vegan enough… Here’s a couple of ideas for some less hands-on, but equally important, activism:

Sign these petitions:     1    2   

Write to a local district councillor

Write to your local MP – You can write to any MP at: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA, and you can find out who your local MP is here.

Report a litter problem to your local council

There’s power in numbers, so another incredible international movement to get behind is the Extinction Rebellion, who will be taking to the streets from April 15th to make their presence and demands known. Head to their website to read more, watch a brilliant video on the ecological crisis and how to handle it both emotionally and practically, and sign up as a volunteer. They’re looking for people to commit for as long as it takes.
They’ll be hosting a variety of marches and civil disobedience actions as well as cultural events, all to disrupt the economy and get the people and the cause noticed.

So get involved with #trashtag, let us know what action you’ve taken, comment tips below, and if you send us your photos we’ll add them to this blog post for a much-needed uplifting news story!