Spring is finally here! Migratory birds and butterflies are returning, hibernating animals are waking up and emerging from their hiding places, birds and frogs call out to find their mates. The snow and ice have melted revealing hidden treasures that were hidden below: the first signs of spring flowers, soil ready to support another season of growth, puddles to splash in, that thing you dropped before the last big snowfall… and garbage.
Year after year the beauty of spring is marred by months worth of windblown garbage that gets trapped under the ice and snow to reappear with the warmer weather. Some is from people who couldn’t be bothered to find a bin, but much of it is from toppled garbage and recycling bins blown over by the wind or knocked over by a snowplow.
If you, like us, would like to do something about this spring garbage, sign up to participate in our first annual “Green Venture Cleans Up!” event. We have lots of ways to join and be part of this collective action while still staying safe and following public health guidelines. If you are a high school student and would like to count this towards your community service hours, let us know when you register! We will support you in growing your impact by engaging others to hold cleanups in their communities.
How to Participate:
Register your cleanup, request a litter clean up kit and register for our training workshop!
- Sign up and let us know your cleanup site and type of clean up (listed below)
- Attend our optional training session on ***Friday April 16th 6:30-7:00pm*** and share on Facebook!
- Gather your materials (bags and gloves) or arrange to pick some up from us
- Do your cleanup and share photos on social media (of people cleaning, before and after photos, and the full bag(s) of garbage). Sharing a post will earn you entry for a prize draw!!! Be sure to make your post public and use the hashtag: #GreenVentureCleansUp to get your entry. Share photos of the garbage you collect, before and after photos of the cleanup site, or your cleanup crew coming up with creative ways to do a community cleanup during a pandemic
- Dispose of your garbage properly – check the RecycleCoach App to confirm what goes where, keeping in mind that items must be clean to go in the recycling (attend our training session for more info)
- Report back to share how much waste you collected, and from where
How to Handle the Garbage:
- If you have the orange and/or clear bags from the City of Hamilton, please put landfill waste in the orange bags and ***clean*** recyclable containers in the clear bags (dirty containers must be cleaned or disposed of with landfill waste)
- Dispose of with your household waste
- If you have the orange bags from the city they will not count towards your garbage bag allotment
Types of Cleanups:
- Go outside for 22 minutes and clean up around your neighbourhood or place of work (alone, with others in your household, or sign up for different shifts amongst your coworkers)
- Choose an area and arrange your household to clean the area. Set a time limit (suggested 1-2 hours)
- For cleanup hotspots, arrange multiple households to clean up in adjacent sections but stay separate from each other (if in a large area like a shoreline or a park)
- Alternatively, for a larger cleanup, arrange for different households to go at different times and run the cleanup for longer
- Virtual cleanup: arrange with friends or family to clean in separate locations but at the same time, then celebrate together virtually
- Go outside with your class to clean the school grounds
A Few Notes on Safety:
- We encourage you to use this framework in planning a community garbage cleanup. We have made every effort to respect current public health guidelines. For the most up-to-date information, please check the City of Hamilton’s Covid-19 information page or the Ontario Covid-19 information page
- Be aware of your surroundings
- If you find needles/syringes, leave them on the ground and call the City of Hamilton at 905-546-2489
- Don’t pick up anything you are not comfortable with or that you feel puts you in danger
- Supervise young children closely, and talk to older children about staying safe during the cleanup
Want to challenge yourself further? DO sweat the small stuff! We’re talking about all those little bits of garbage that often get overlooked at garbage cleanups because they are too small and tedious and it takes a long time to collect enough that it feels like you’ve made an impact. These small bits of garbage are more likely to get eaten by animals and incorporated into nests and other animal homes. They also get into waterways and continue breaking down to form microplastics (if they are made of plastic that is). This isn’t to say you should ignore the big garbage, only that you shouldn’t overlook the small stuff. Our additional challenge to you for this cleanup is to try to collect about one sandwich-baggie-worth of little garbage (actual sandwich baggie optional). It may not make as powerful of a visual impact as picking up the big stuff, but it will make a world of difference to the wildlife that may otherwise have eaten what you pick up.
A garbage clean up is great, and we love to see so many people coming together to contribute to a common eco goal. BUT wouldn’t it be amazing if we stopped making garbage in the first place, and eliminated the need for garbage cleanups? We think so. To achieve this dream will take widespread action, stronger environmental policies, and a move towards a circular economy. A lot of individuals, groups, non-profits (including Green Venture), businesses, and governments are working hard to bring us closer to achieving this lofty goal. In the near term, we are offering three fun, hands-on waste reduction workshops as a follow up to our clean up event. Join us (virtually) to:
- Make simple personal care products, some using ingredients you likely have around your home, others using a few simple ingredients you can get at most health food stores
- Make plant-based milks from bulk ingredients, make vegetable broth from vegetable scraps, and grow food from vegetable scraps
- Learn composting techniques that you can do at home (with or without a yard)
If, after participating in a garbage cleanup, you are feeling inspired to reduce your own waste please join us for one, two, or all three of these workshops!