If you don't know what plogging is yet and haven't read Part 1, see below or click here.
When we created the Plog for the Sea challenge, we wanted to ensure that we weren't creating more waste with our efforts. We put our sustainability thinking caps on and thought of a couples ways this could be done.
First, we provided our local ambassadors with reusable bags that they could use to pick up the waste they found. These were provided to us by the Alexander Keith's Brewery located in Halifax. Their master brewer, Stefan, is always looking for ways to make sure their used malt bags don't go to waste. He cut the bags for us, slit some handles, blew out the grain residues and delivered some perfect plogging bags to us! Thank you Stefan!
Stefan showing off the reusable malt bags! Photo curtesy of The Tare Shop who caught Stefan in action bringing some bags to the Historic Brewery Market for all shoppers to use.
If you want one, or many, of these bags - contact us!
The second thing we did to reduce our own footprint with this challenge was provide our ambassadors with gardening gloves. For safety reasons, gloves are an important aspect of plogging. Many clean-up efforts provide participants with latex gloves, and while we applaud all efforts to tidy up our environment, those latex gloves ultimately end up in the trash. Considering becoming a plogger? Go purchase a pair of cheap gloves that will last you all plogging season and beyond!
Want some other tips to begin plogging?
Here's the second set of responses from our ploggers after we asked them what surprised them the most from their experience and what advice they would have for anyone considering plogging.
Abbie's dog, Count, along for a plogging run!
The surprise - I was surprised by the amount of support I received from strangers and people I barely knew. Without trying to sound negative, I thought it would be pretty hard to reach the $200 goal. But people quickly jumped on the bandwagon and kept up with my progress which was amazing. People were so excited to financially support a local organization and even help plogging.
The advice - If you're considering becoming a plogger, don't be disheartened by the amount of litter out there! Just know that you're doing your best and you are making a difference, no matter how small it feels. And if you're not hauling in huge bags of litter... that's ok, too! Picking up cigarette butts is very time consuming for little reward... but I remember reading somewhere that one cigarette butt can immediately contaminate 7 L of water and continue releasing toxins for 10 years!
Melanie, our second West Coast ambassador, plogging in Vancouver.
The surprise - I was surprised by the number of other folks who got involved! I am so glad people joined the team to clean up for the sea and support Back to the Sea’s fundraising goal!
The advice - My advice, carry gloves with you everywhere. It’s always the times you are not Plogging when you see a huge garbage can turned over or a seagull that has just tore up a McDonalds bag. Those are the times when ploggers need to be at the ready! Now that my eyes are open to the amount of garbage on our streets and seawalls, I can’t not see it.
Jenn doing a beach plog.
The surprise - I was disheartened to see so much litter that was found litterally everywhere, but what surprised me was how much we can accomplish in such a short period of time. In ten minutes of plogging we can fill an entire bag and make for a happier and healthier environment. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of support, encouragement, donations and messages that trickled in on the daily from people online and in person. This challenge made me realize that there is a wonderful network of caring, like-minded, passionate people that are fully on board to connect & continue to work together in helping our environment in any way we can.
The advice - I recommend investing in a durable pair of gardening gloves that will sustain all elements and that you will be able to reuse for each plogging adventure. I used one pair of gloves the entire month and they worked perfectly other than I do wish they could have been a bit more water-resistant, as some of the messes I got myself into left my hands sopping wet with who-knows-what. Speaking of which, hand sanitizer is good to have close by. Last but not least, a couple of reusable bags (email Back to the Sea to get some of Keith's used malt bags!).
My advice to future ploggers would be 1) Have the items I’ve listed above on-hand for emergency plogs, as I had many of those. 2) Talk about it- whether you make a post, record your experience, or talk to friends and family about your experiences-it will bring more awareness and recruit more ploggers! 3) Don’t be shy. If you do not have the means to dispose of the garbage you’ve collected, reach out to local businesses that have secure and covered bins. 4) Have fun with it! Get friends together, laugh off some of the outrageous finds. It can get ugly out there, and you can start to feel pretty discouraged BUT, know that you’re doing your part, and others are too!
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This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Read part 1 below. Stay tuned to find out more about the success of our challenge and to hear more anecdotes and advice!