There are many stewardship activities you can participate in at home to celebrate Earth Day. One of the easiest and most fun things you can do is pick up litter! Picking up litter can be accomplished anywhere at any time, and it really makes a difference! Trash is a big problem because it can hurt or kill animals, destroy habitat, fill oceans, spread illness, and is ugly. By removing trash, we will make Whatcom County a better place to live, for us and the plants and animals.
Watch this great video of Kirsten McDade and her kids doing a litter cleanup!
Supplies you will need
- Plastic bag or bucket to put the trash into
- Tongs or Trash Pickers (optional)
- Cloth Mask (to keep yourself and others safe during COVID-19)
Here are some safety instructions you will want to follow while picking up litter around your neighborhood:
- Create Barriers between yourself and the trash: use gloves, tongs, or trash pickers to pick the trash up. Be sure to stay at least 6 feet away from your neighbors that are walking, running, or picking up litter too!
- Leave the trash in the condition that it is found. Don’t investigate what the trash is or take it apart (don’t remove caps off bottles). Bottles that have liquid in them could be dangerous.
- Team up with a sibling or parent. Have one person carry a garbage bag, while the other person uses gloves or tongs to pick up the garbage and place it into the bag.
- Boundaries — make sure you are only picking up litter where an adult has given you permission to.
- Hazardous Trash —Only pick up SAFE litter. Do not pick up sharp objects such as broken glass or metal. Leave anything that resembles a needle on the ground and notify an adult.
- Wash your hands and tools when you are done.
Additional protocols to keep yourself and others safe during COVID-19:
- Wear a cloth mask.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others that are around you.
- Only pick up litter in your neighborhood or other walkable areas to reduce the need to drive.
Make it into a scavenger hunt
Want to make doing a litter clean up in your neighborhood more exciting? Do a scavenger hunt and challenge your friends to pick up litter in their own neighborhoods! Look for the items on the list below:
- Soda Can or Juice Box
- Plastic Water Bottle
- Candy or a Snack Wrapper
- Plastic Utensil
- Piece of String or Rope
- Cigarette Butts
- Plastic Straw
- Plastic Bag
- Something Blue
- Find something bigger than your hand
- Find something as small as your fingernail
- Something that was caught in a bush or tree
Give 1 point per item checked off the list above.
Give an extra 5 points if you find them all.
Give 5 points per bag of trash you filled up.
Show us how much garbage you collected!
Questions for after your cleanup
Discuss these questions with someone in your household:
- What was the most common type of litter? Why do you think it was so common?
- Did you find anything recyclable? Or anything that could be composted?
- How did this litter get here in the first place?
- How could some of the trash you found harm the environment?
- Imagine if everyone in your neighborhood picked up litter for the same amount of time: how much trash would be removed?
After you do the litter clean up, pat yourself on the back. Thank you for being a great steward of our community!