In 2016, Pennsylvanians combined to create almost nine tons of waste across the calendar year –– mathed out, that comes to about 1,300 pounds per person across a year.
Even for someone who isn’t so math-friendly, one can see that that is quite a bit of trash.
Whether you live in one of the state’s busy cities, the rolling suburbs, or the plentiful rural areas, look around you and you’ll likely be able to spot at least a few superfluous candy bar wrappers, paper towels, or discarded pack of cigarettes lining the sidewalks and roads.
Waste is a problem, of course, but fortunately, the solution is pretty straightforward.
Pick it up.
Wanna make it a bit more exciting than circling the block and grabbing a few pieces of paper off the street?
Plogging – an activity that combines picking up litter with jogging (hence the name) came to be in Sweden around 2016. Since then, it’s spread around the world, picking up steam as environmental issues trend upwards in the news and public spheres.
The execution is simple – grab a few friends and a few trashbags (don’t forget gloves) and pick a route. Maybe you’ll jog through a local park, or through a few city blocks. Every time you see some litter on the path, pause (keep your legs moving if possible, gotta keep the heart rate up!), snag it, and toss it in the bag. When you’re done your route (or when the bag gets too heavy) drop it off at a dumpster or on your curb for pickup.
The #TrashTag Challenge (a play on the word hashtag) popped up in early 2019 as a means of encouraging others to beauty their communities by picking up trash and snapping before and after photos for social media.
The challenge, which often sees people finding a particularly litter-filled portion of a park or lot near them, snapping a photo, and then bagging up all the garbage, took off in mid 2019, even culminating in a Forbes writeup. People still regularly use the hashtag, despite the slight dip in use, as picking up trash never quite goes out of style.
Plan a Community Event
Perhaps the most time-intensive, but likely also the most beneficial, if you truly want to help beautify your community, consider enlisting the help of those around you. Using a site like EventBrite that helps organize and plan an event can help get the word out amongst your community.
From there, you’ll want to organize your volunteers and collect some materials – you might need rakes or tashbags, gloves for everyone, etc. By involving the community around you and building some excitement, your return on investment to beautify your community will be exponential.