Rubbish can be found everywhere and we all know it’s bad for the environment – it harms our land, soil, waterways, and wildlife. It’s an overwhelming task for any one individual to pick up. But if we work together, we can protect and restore the beauty and health of our natural spaces.
This Conservation Week we are challenging you take a moment to act for nature and pick up rubbish to protect the local spaces that matter to you. The places you go to, to have fun, exercise and relax.
By picking up rubbish to protect your space and the nature that enriches it, you will support local wildlife and your own wellbeing. Because when Papatūānuku thrives, we thrive.
The space that matters most to you might be your favourite surfing beach, or a bike trail you hit on weekends. Maybe it’s the sports field you play at, or nearby hills where you go to relax. Perhaps it’s the loop you run around your neighbourhood, or the walk to a café you go to with family and friends.
How to take action
A bum bag/fanny pack can be useful when cycling
Take a moment to look round next time you are in a space that matters to you. Notice where there’s rubbish and challenge yourself to bring a bag and remove what you can next time you go.
Start by taking note of how much there is and where it tends to gather. Then when you next plan to be there, pack protective gloves, hand sanitiser and a bag. You could use a:
- reusable shopping bag
- lined bum bag / fanny pack
- small running backpack
- extra doggy bags, or
- bin liner
Make it your goal to fill your bag before you return home. Take photos and share them online to challenge your friends to take action. You can use our #ConservationWeek hashtag to inspire others too.
Make an even bigger impact and organise a rubbish clean up. Work together with your family, friends, school or community group, or a team from work for Conservation Week.
To stay safe and have a more enjoyable time, we have advice on how to run a beach-clean up to help you get started. But the following items are recommended for any clean-up effort:
- hand sanitiser,
- rubbish bags, and
- protective gloves
You should also make sure to plan the right clothing for your clean up. This might be as simple as warm clothing if you are heading to a more remote location. Or choosing visible clothing if you will be working near roads.
Dispose of rubbish appropriately after your clean-up. This might be at your local refuse station, recycling centre, or in rubbish collection bins at home. Check out your local council’s website for where you can drop off rubbish if needed.
Show your love for nature by being prepared to carry your rubbish away with you, including your apple cores and banana peels. Take a bag or air-tight container to store your rubbish.
Before you go out, reduce the rubbish you might have. Remove as much packaging from the items you plan to take as possible, and pack any food into reusable containers.
Make a difference every day and take action by picking up rubbish on your daily commute. You could set a target each day and aim to pick up that many pieces of litter while on your journey.
Get friends together for a beach or nature walk on the weekend and pick up rubbish as you go. If you want to go further, plan for the day and with a Sustainable Coastlines free DIY beach clean-up kit.
Protect wildlife in natural spaces and pick up food waste. Even if discarded food waste can break down, when it’s left in the wrong environment it attracts pests that harm our birds. Many break down so slowly, they can last long enough to cause serious harm. So even an apple core can do lasting damage when left outdoors.
Reduce the amount of rubbish you produce at home. Start by investigating items you could swap with plastic free alternatives.