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Another Day, Another Bounty of Garbage #makeAmericabeautifulagain #pickupyourtrash

On Saturday I mentioned to my 96-year-old mom that I have a new hobby: picking up trash. Usually I have no “news” for her since my life is pretty much the same day in, day out. The cats are getting older even though Junior still acts like a hellion. Nothing new with my husband’s back (it still plagues him although he manages to work around it). And, yes, he is still enjoying retirement. I don’t tell her any more about my aches and pains because why should I? She who never has such complaints takes it pretty hard when she sees or hears her children struggling. So I tell her about my new hobby instead, and she chuckles.

Picking up trash is becoming a bit of an obsession for me, although not quite in the league of David Sedaris who might spend 3 to 5 hours a day picking up trash. But I can no longer go on a walk without my grabber and a couple of bags (13-gallon kitchen trash bags which actually are not the best choice because they tear easily). The one time I tried, I wound up taking a dog poop bag from a dispenser in the park and used that to pick up bits and pieces of plastic.

I’ve added purple heavy-duty household cleaning gloves to my tools. They’re a bit awkward but, since so much trash I find is along ponds, they keep my hands protected as well as dry. Today, my husband gave me a small case that I can clip on to my belt and use as a kit to hold my gloves and trash bags.

He’s also had the patience to go with me and recline on the grass while I make my way around the perimeter of a stormwater pond … or two. I don’t ask him to help because of his back, but I like having his company.

Here’s two views of one particular pond called “Lake Le Marc.” Seriously. It’s a stormwater pond facility (my husband, the engineer, says) but if Tallahassee wants to call it a lake, who am I to argue? You’d have to zoom into the photos to see all the plastic bottles floating on the surface. If you can’t zoom, just trust me. They are there.

This was some of my haul from Saturday’s walk and pick-up.

I pretty much filled the 13-gallon bag, had it all nicely tied when I found a broken plastic hanger. Yes, I did, with some patience, untie the bag and fit it in. But then that was it, and, believe me, it was really hard to walk back home and not pick up any more trash.

Picking up trash is not just a new hobby. It’s a new obsession.

This photo is from last weekend. Me trying to stand like a hunter with my trusty rifle grabber, my buck bag at my feet.

Thanks for reading. As a reward for looking at photos of trash, here’s one of Wendy, or her bum anyway.

When temps get below 70 degrees, these Southern kitties seek out warmth. The fleecy blanket is the one I brought her home in, 6 and 1/2 years ago. It’s her “blankie.”

Categories: Nature

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

27 replies

  1. A friend sent us a grabber, but since most of what we gather is bits of plastic the size of postage stamps, we do not use it on the beach. It takes a great many bits of broken plastic and plastic foam and six-inch trims of plastic rope and bottle caps to make a pound but we sometimes find whole plastic bottles and yesterday found our fourth and fifth lighter of the year.


    1. My husband has suggested that I weigh the bags but I don’t. I’ve only recently started logging my bounties but only because I’m so forgetful. Although I don’t think it will make any difference, I’ve started “tagging” our city’s Instagram account with my photos, particularly when the trash is from around storm water facilities.


  2. The most discouraging aspect of living on the beach was the great quantities of trash left by the thoughtless. Usually it was within a short distance from a trash bin. I applaud your efforts and if that is truely a stormwaater facility even bottles discarded in the street are going to end up there. You go Marie.


    1. Thanks, John! I imagine it would be heartbreaking to find trash on the beach. Most of what I’m finding right now is trash that’s been around for a long time, but new stuff is creeping in ☹️


  3. If you’re going to obsess then this is a good one. I didn’t know that David Sedaris was so into picking up trash. You’re following in good literary footsteps.


    1. Ha ha! Thanks, Cheryl. I did get thanked for picking up trash the other day by a woman walking her dog. I managed to NOT say, “well, if everyone just picked up a bit, I wouldn’t have to do as much.” 😉 I actually don’t know what to say when people comment on what I’m doing. I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty. Some of the trash I find isn’t obvious to the casual observer, but I hope I’m planting a seed, making people think about what they can do.


  4. Great job! Thanks for sharing. I too have begun to pick up trash more often on my walks around the neighborhood. Feels good to do it and help out my township.


    1. Yay! Thanks, Jennie for commenting and for picking up trash 🙂 If everyone did a little bit (and if people were more conscientious about how they throw out their trash), we could enjoy our environment so much more (and the birds and turtles and other critters would be happier too).


  5. You are so serious about this, with the purple gloves and all. My new walking regimen is not taking me past too much trash, but there have been a couple of days where there was something I wanted to pick up but had nothing with me to put it in and too far to carry it. I’m debating bringing a bag with me, but there is so little trash that I haven’t yet decided if it’s “worth” it or not. This is near my house. Eventually I plan to venture farther away.


    1. Actually that’s good to hear that there’s so little trash found on your walks. You might take a small bag with you on your next walk, just in case. While a small bag would limit how much trash you can pick up, it would be more convenient than a large bag if you still have a ways to walk. I’ve had to cut some of my walks short because I filled a 13-gallon bag and it was too awkward to carry around.


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