033: Collect a piece of litter each day

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL

From our guest writer Paul in the UK

Collect a piece of litter each day

Seems simple, right?

And it is!

Picking up a single piece of litter isn’t going to take any time at all. In fact, there is so much litter around, that you can even be picky in what you pick up (more on that later).

But a single piece of litter won’t make an impact, so why bother?

It is more than just one piece!

As an individual piece of trash, you are right. But if you do that each day, then already your single piece is now 365 pieces.

That sounds better, doesn’t it?

I could now say “If we all do that then the world will be clean in a year”… blah blah. But I won’t. I want to show you how picking up that piece of litter really will make an impact.

You will feel good! Really good.

Try it and think about how you feel. Let’s not underestimate that feeling. This simple action is making you feel better. Isn’t that worth it alone?

We shouldn’t consider that piece of litter as just being about putting it in a bin. It is more wide reach than that and can be good for mental wellbeing.


People will see you.

Don’t hide what you are doing. Let other people see it.

It will be noticed and stick in that person’s mind. That is raising awareness.

Even if they don’t react to what you are doing, they have noticed it. They will start noticing trash more or perhaps they are in a conversation with someone and they remember what you did; “Yes, funny you should say that as I saw someone picking up a piece of trash yesterday”.

You will talk about it.

Maybe someone asks you what you are doing or maybe you raise the subject yourself. However it happens, you will be able to explain what you are doing and why. Suddenly you have a chance to inspire.

Ripple Effect

All of this can lead to others joining in. Maybe your friends say “Oh, I’m gonna do that too!”. Maybe you convince your family to join in. Or work colleagues decide to support your efforts.

Your single piece of litter is now more.

If 9 people join in with you, that is now 3,650 pieces of litter being collected.

This sounds like an impact to me!

Tips / Other Ideas

To help you get the most out of it, here are some extra tips

  1. Focus on what matters to you. If you are reading this, then you are likely to be concerned about the environment. So why not choose the piece of litter that reflects your concerns.  Maybe you only want to pick up plastic? Single-use water bottles? Cigarette packets? Maybe you pick up a piece of trash that you can put in a recycling bin? Let it tell your story. It will make what you are doing feel even better and more worthwhile. Something you are excited to continue doing.
  2. Use social media. Post about what you are doing to extend your reach.
  3. Do it when outside in a group. This is a fun thing to try; pick up the piece while walking with others. This isn’t to show people how wonderful you are, but lets them see how easy it is to do. You will be surprised to see how often someone joins in and picks up a piece in support.
  4. Be safe. Lastly, but importantly, be safe. There are lots of ways to be safe, and perhaps the easiest is to use a clothes peg; it is small and handy to use. And there is no need to pick up the first piece you see, so wait until you see a piece that is easy to pick up safely.

This article has been contributed by
Paul Waye
Insta: @wayeoflife
Twitter: @wayeoflife

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