You may have seen from my social media posts that I try to attend volunteer clean-ups around the city as much as possible. So far, these have been organised events, with the organiser supplying gloves, bags, litter pickers, even wellies and waders at the Water of Leith. Helping keep areas of the city that are special to me clean is a great feeling. I can then walk along the paths knowing that I had a hand in keeping them tidy and safe for kids, pets and wildlife. But often on these routine walks, I see more rubbish. I’m not a germophobe, but I don’t feel safe picking up unknown rubbish bare handed, especially with no bins in sight and no bag to carry it around in until I find one. I keep thinking I should carry a bag and gloves on my walks, but I always forget!
I guess I’m not the only one who thinks carrying a rubbish bag around is a good idea and the Keep Scotland Beautiful charity have come to our rescue with their Clean Up Scotland campaign. A few weeks ago I saw a post about free rubbish collecting bags, under their scheme #2MinuteCleanUp. Apparently so many people wanted a bag that they ran out, but with more coming in stock, I quickly emailed to request one for myself. Of course, any old bag will do, but this bag explains what you are doing and hopefully when people see the catchy slogan on the side, they’ll want a bag and so on, and so on. Pretty soon, Keep Scotland Beautiful will have a small army of #2MinuteCleanUp volunteers and our streets and paths will be so much better for it.
My bag finally arrived and I just got back from my first #2MinuteCleanUp. Ok, I did spend more than 2 minutes, but the point is to go out prepared to pick up some rubbish without spending too much of your spare time. I go for an hour walk every day, which is when I usually see all the rubbish, so it’s a perfect time to do a cleanup within my daily routine.
I headed out for tonight’s walk with an air of determination. Bag ready, gloves ready, I was in ‘clean up’ mode.
It wasn’t long before I spotted my first catch of the day……
Not surprisingly, a Styrofoam chip container.
This was quickly followed by crisp bags, soda tins, energy drink bottles (guess they don’t give the drinker the energy to find a bin!) and cigarette packs. Turns out that things that are rubbish for your body, turn out to be rubbish on our streets as well.
Luckily I spotted a bin, as my bag had quickly filled.
With an empty bag, I continued my walk, finding the same junk food wrappers and empty tins and bottles. I think I would have actually been happy to find a coconut water bottle and a wrapper from a granola bar – at least I would have evidence that somebody was eating well. In the end, I filled my bag 3 times, just on my normal evening walk!
As I was going along, I went through a variety of emotions. Angered by people who litter, saddened by what people were eating, disappointed by the city’s efforts to keep streets clean. But blame, no matter how justified, doesn’t get the job done. Yes, I would prefer if people didn’t litter; I would love the city to have enough spare cash to pay people to clean all the streets and paths (but let’s fix those potholes first and find people houses) but, in the meantime, I’m happy that I am able to do my little bit to keep my neck of the woods a bit cleaner and safer. And that’s what the ‘Clean Up Scotland’ campaign is trying to promote. If we all do our little bit in our own neighbourhoods, then everyone benefits. So, if you’d like to join the #2MinuteCleanUp team, find out how to get your own bags here. Keep Scotland Beautiful were also kind enough to send me a spare that I’d love to give away and I’m throwing in a free pair of gloves too. The competition is on the Healthy Edinburgh facebook page and will end on the 3rd of August 2016.
If you do your own cleanups – even with your own bags, please share pictures on social media with @cleanupscotland and tag #2MinuteCleanUp. They’d love to hear and share your stories.