I like to joke that it was my background as an archaeologist that got me interested in litter. After all, what are artefacts but litter from the past? Or, phrased another way, what is litter but future archaeological remains?
And perhaps that is why I noticed every piece of rubbish on my daily commute between my house and the local train station. It was during yet another internal rant against those who used the town as their personal tip that I realised that there were two options: I could either continue to complain about it or I could pick up the rubbish myself.
I chose option two, roping my husband into my latest and strangest hobby: collecting and recording data about the litter found on the streets of our community. From this I launched the Rubbish Walks blog to encourage others to clean up: whether it was simply picking up a piece or two a litter while out and about or going on a deliberate walk to tidy known grot spots.
But it was my “other” life, that as a researcher studying how behaviour change techniques and technology could be used to benefit the environment, which began to take over. A lot of the academic literature surrounding how to reduce energy or encourage water conservation could be applied to stopping litter. And shouldn’t that be the ultimate goal: creating clean communities, coastlines, and waterways where litter picks are no longer needed?
That encouraged me to dig even deeper into the topic, re-branding to Off the Ground to focus on going beyond picking up litter to identifying potential solutions to the problem. Today, I intend the website to serve as a repository for ideas, documents, and information to help those who seek to make our communities cleaner.
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I also have a life beyond litter! Check it out: