March is all about being "greener". One of the best tips for committing to your zero waste journey is to pick up trash.
Make it part of your routine. It's easy if you're a regular walker, when you see trash stop and pick it up. I have a bag and a pair of old gloves that I use because you never know what you might find. I take it with my on my daily beach walks and sadly can always fill it up.
Another option, especially if you have kids is to make picking up litter part of your holiday routine. There are so many benefits including family time together, being outside, a feeling of accomplishment and a growing awareness about how litter affects our world.
Once you become an official "trash picker" your knowledge about packaging grows. All the useless food wrapper crap you pick up is disheartening. It helps you be stronger and committed to remembering your own reusable bags, water bottles, cups and straws.
Trash has a huge negative impact on wildlife. Trash looks like food or perhaps a good material to use in a nest. Plastic in particular continues to break down into "microplastic" which is easily confused for something yummy. I've picked up styrofoam cups with bite marks in them. More and more stories are coming out about the amount of plastic consumed by ocean animals.
It can feel uncomfortable at first to pick up trash because most folks simply won't be bothered. They might not litter but they won't pick up someone else's trash. I'm always amazed on a beach walk how many folks simply pass by a piece of trash without a thought. Most of us feel a bit weird when we first take a step towards making our planet a cleaner, better place to live. The truth is feeling awkward for a bit is easy to get over. What you are doing with the simple step of bending down and picking up trash is setting an example for others. Small steps can yield big results.
In Maine, I pick up a lot of food and drink containers but also find a lot of commercial fishing trash including rope, buoys, traps, gloves and bleach bottles. Fortunately there is a lot of creativity in the trash picking world. One of my favorite Maine based companies is WashAshoreStore . Erin makes dog leashes, collars and more from rope washed ashore. All the items have a great nautical style and repurposing instead of using new is the way to go. She'll also up-cycle worn leashes and accept rope you've collect if you happen to be in the Portland, ME area.
I just found out about an Etsy shop OceanPlastic making jewelry from the tiny bits of micro plastic picked up on Florida beaches. She has rings, bracelets and earrings with the teeny bits of plastic set in a clear resin. We need this kind of creativity to use what we have simply lying around on our beaches and trails.
There are no easy and simple solutions to our planet crisis but we can't give up. Each step we take no matter how small does make a difference. Set the example and be a proud "trash picker" in your neighborhood.