Act of kindness #30: Litter picking

A kind-hearted Facebook friend recently wrote this post on her inspiring kindness page:

Ally's Post about Litter.png

And it really hit home. HARD!

I completely identified with the first part of the post:

“We were walking home and I walked past a whole lot of litter that was left from the parade that was on in the week. Guess what I thought? ‘the council didn’t do a very good job cleaning up afterwards, that’s a real mess at the top of my street’ AND I KEPT ON WALKING… yep. I walked past it.”

Yep, whenever I see litter, I say to myself how awful it is, and I keep on walking. And I imagine most people do the very same.

But now, I want to identify with the second part of Ally’s post:

“Then I thought, actually I keep harping on “Be the change in the world” and wondered how many other people had walked past this litter. I turned around, and walked back and with that thought in mind, I had a small plastic bag in my bag, and with Roux [Ally’s dog] on her leash (more hindrance than help) I picked up the litter.”

So rather than tut-tutting about the amount of litter I see strewn around my neighbourhood and feeling outrage at the person/s responsible for the rubbish, I will simply pick it up.


It’s that easy!

Due to a CFS symptom flare up, I haven’t been feeling well enough to go out for a soul stroll these past few days (my kindness calendar suggested this act for Tuesday) but today, I felt up to taking a gentle walk around my neighbourhood.

And before I set off, I stuffed an empty bag into my coat pocket, ready to pick up any litter I came across.

Like this…


And this…


At one point a woman walking her dog shouted to me over the brook: “What are you doing?”. When I explained, she replied: “Thank goodness there are people like you in the world!” and came over for a little natter.

As I came back home I picked up a little litter in our front garden, and came across my dad’s peugeot car badge which he thought had disappeared forever! We’re guessing it had come loose and had been  blown onto the garden.

peugeot car badge.JPG


So from my 10 minute stroll around the green space near my home, this is my haul…



I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised how much I found.

Just think, if every person in the world picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 7 billion fewer pieces of litter in the world. If every person in the world picked up just 10 pieces of litter today, there would be over 70 billion fewer pieces of litter. And if we did this every day, my mind boggles at the number of fewer pieces of litter around our communities!!

And the good news is that we don’t even have to make a massive effort to do this.

Here are my 3 favourite tips I’ve gathered from litter picking campaigns:

1. Watch and share this inspiring video:

2. “You can make a big difference by ‘adopting’ somewhere and committing to litter pick it on a regular basis, say once every 2-3 weeks.”

3. 7 Keys for a Successful Cleanup Project

1) be willing to do the activity alone, and enjoy it
2) make the time, place and duration explicitly clear to everyone you tell about it

3) INVITE people. Don’t coerce, try to sell it to them, or overly control their participation. When invited, most people will bring something to the clean up effort that really makes really work.
4) keep it simple. Cleaning up trash is easy. All you need are garbage bags, places to put the trash, and gloves (rakes and shovels can’t hurt either!) Tell potential participants that these are the raw materials, but bring enough yourself to cover half-a-dozen people who come without .
5) have fun doing it. After all, you and everyone else will be actively making the world a better place… really.
6) tell lots of people, including the press. Just call them up and tell them what, when, where you are doing what you are doing. Even if you wind up alone out there, you will still peak interest, and people may want to join you next time.
7) remind people and yourself that what you are doing matters by telling incidents and specifics about how it matters to you. Just the simple truth will inspire others.

Thank you Ally for inspiring me to spread a little kindness around my neighbourhood to help make my community a better, cleaner place to be.



8 thoughts on “Act of kindness #30: Litter picking”

  1. This post popped into my head the other day – I’ve recently moved into the city where I work and see rubbish on my walk in/out of work. So I popped a plastic bag in my pocket with the plan of picking up a few pieces one day. Today I walked past a bag with empty food packets in it but worried about what people who saw me would think if I stopped to pick it up. Then I decided I didn’t care because I was doing a good thing and packed it all into the bag (some packets had fallen out and were strewn across the pavement) and carried it home!

    And the best thing is, I also popped most of it into the recycling. Win win! Thanks so much for inspiring me to do some good and not care what the doubters think 😀 You’re doing a great thing here!

    1. Yay Rachel, thank you for much for sharing this. You’ve made my day ☆

      I’m so so happy my post inspired you to pick up the litter in your new neighbourhood. And briliant for deciding not to care what people think – i know exactly what you mean as I thought that too, but ended up with someone stopping to chat and thanking me ♡

      Thank you for spreading kindness.

      Love+hugs, Helen

  2. I have been litter picking in my area for a few months now, also inspired by “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I hope and believe that being seen by other people we can make them think, be aware, and feel positive because they see someone stepping out to look after the community.
    And it IS great fun. We love doing it!

  3. Fantastic post 🙂 thanks for the shout out on the litter picking. If we are going somewhere that I know will be dirty litter (like a park after rain) I use strong gardening gloves which was a tip from a seasoned litter picker. The best thing is that it doesnt take long to pick up litter and there are instant results. Thanks Helen, very inspiring 🙂

    1. Thank YOU Ally and thanks for the tip, great idea! My folks have one of those litter picker devices, so I’ll see how I go with that next time 🙂 Xxx

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