Picking up litter is the foundation of everything we do here at PickWaste. Since our inception on July 1st, 2017 we have completed 70+ cleanups filling 800+ bags of litter from our city. It is absolutely amazing to see the impact we can have as a community when we all work toward a common goal.
Here is the first cleanup we completed on July 1st at west shore beach. Since that day we decided that every Saturday that followed we would meet up for one hour, once a week to cleanup our city. Since then our team has grown to three cities, and over 300 volunteers signed up. We now average 15-20 volunteers every weekend, and we’re blessed to have received a grant from “Taking It Global” to provide food, water, music, and litter sticks to all of the dedicated volunteers.
During this initial cleanup, we had a notable experience. Upon cleaning up along the shore we had an older man approach us to ask “what crime did you commit to receive this punishment of picking up litter?”
Surprised, we answered by explaining to the man that there is no punishment! We are doing this because we truly seek to make a change. That eye opening experience gave the motivation to start the weekly cleanups, which then led to speaking, and hosting events with other companies.
At the root of everything, we take in to account how we can scale the operation and fill more bags of trash. We understand that picking up litter is not the end solution to this complex issue, but it is the small start that we believe will kickstart many other great changes in our society.
Why is picking up trash so important?
Malcolm Gladwell said in his best selling book “The Tipping Point”, that there is a universal principal known as social proof. This law states that people assume the correct behaviour by copying other people. Don’t you remember when all your friends understood a joke and you didn’t? They all started laughing and although you didn’t understand, you starting laughing too! We copy other people all the time to determine socially correct behaviour. Therefore, when people see groups of 15-20 teens picking up litter early on Saturday morning they will begin to assume that picking up litter is the ethical action to take!
We are taking care of our home, literally! The environment is what sustains us. The three resources we need to survive are food, water and oxygen. when we pollute our oceans, soil, and atmosphere, we are really only harming ourselves. One day we will eat those vegetables, drink that water, and breathe in that air.
The lesson we learnt in world issues class was that small consistent actions lead to massive changes. We understand that pollution is only one of the many issues facing out planet today. Our success with PickWaste could be inspiring other people to pursue solving the social issues their passionate about.