I am excited to announce that we did our first ever Million Tonne Challenge clean up and although it was small (just me and my mum – who is a total legend), it taught us a lot!
Location of clean up: Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, UK
Distance covered: 0.62Km
Time taken: Approximately 2 hours
Number of people: 2
Total weight of waste collected: 19.7Kg
Proportion of this waste which was recyclable: 8.7Kg
Proportion of this waste which was sent to landfill: 11Kg
Equipment: 2 waste grippers, 2 high-visibility vests, 2 pairs of gloves, a roll of black bags & a car to transport the waste away
I started 1 Million Tonne Challenge with the hope of making a real difference to the environment and to my community.
One side of the challenge is to prevent waste entering the environment and the other side is to clean up the waste that has already made it there and to divert some of the recovered waste back into the recycling stream.
With this aim in mind, we will be doing regular clean ups to recover waste, to understand the scale of the littering problem and to understand the mechanisms by which waste enters the environment.
This is the diary of our first clean up:
Mid-day on Sunday 28th February I decided that I would begin the first clean up in my local area. I was prepared to go out on my own, but thankfully my mum offered to come with me: she’s an angel.
So we packed up the equipment and headed off to a section of road that I drive down quite frequently; over the last few weeks I had noticed how much litter was present on this stretch of road and was itching to do something about it.
Once we got started we quickly began to comment on the things that we found, it became evident pretty quickly that the majority of the waste was from convenience food (fast food wrappers, crisps, chocolate bars, sweets) and drinks (single-use coffee cups, plastic drinks bottle and cans of soda) that had been throw out of the windows of the passing cars.
The amount of used cigarettes also shocked us, this was by far the most numerous item that we found, they don’t weigh a lot but there were thousands of these cigarettes that drivers had smoked and thrown out the window along with the cigarette packets.
The most bizarre thing that we found was half a jar of pickled onions! We couldn’t figure out quite how they got there, they are not a normal snack food that you would expect somebody to have in their car, let alone thrown out of the window!
Once I got the waste home, I spread it out on my patio (while my boyfriend was out!) and started to categorise it, the pictures below detail the items that were found: