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How to do a garbage cleanup?

Welcome to Way to Zero Waste, lately we have seen in social networks that a new "challenge" called #thrashtag challenge or #waste challenge is becoming fashionable. In today's post we will talk about the waste collection process.

Benefits of a cleanup:

1. Ecosystem cleanup

2. Economic benefits, as coastal and marine waters support 28 million jobs in the United States alone.

3. It is an excellent way to mobilize local communities.

4. Raising awareness about plastic pollution

5. Conserve biodiversity

6. Activity to raise awareness among children

Where to collect garbage?

The first thing to know is that urban areas are "clean, as municipalities concentrate many municipal resources on keeping beaches and potentially touristy natural environments clean, as well as urban streets. It is not that the urban areas are clean, but that they clean them.

Even so, there are areas where the cleaning services do not reach and where huge amounts of garbage are concentrated and harmful to the ecosystem where it is found, such as beaches or forests.

What's my next step?

In a garbage collection, gloves and garbage bags (jute, recycled plastic, compostable, etc.) are the two basic elements to start with, thus avoiding possible accidents as much as possible. It is important to start with good protective equipment to avoid infections, cuts, etc. Reusable gloves will allow us to stay safe when picking up the waste. It is also important to wear a mask to avoid any case of infection.

The NGO Surfrider España provides garbage bags and gloves for cleanups. All you have to do is provide information about the day, place and approximate number of people attending the cleanup and they will provide the necessary material.

Cleaning on the beach:

First of all we will comment on various examples of different waste that we can find on the beaches, since it is important to know that not everything we find lying on the ground should be found in the container. Natural remains and dead animals should not be thrown away, and when in doubt it is better not to throw away any waste.

If we find plants such as posidonia, for example, we should leave it, as it acts as a natural barrier for the beach, many animals use it as a refuge and it also serves to find food for the animals that inhabit the habitat. The same goes for seaweed, we should leave it on the beach.

Skate eggs, shark eggs and cuttlefish eggs may look like plastic waste, but they are not, therefore they should also remain on the beach. We can find small agglomerations formed of detergent, which usually take a form similar to stones and usually have embedded waste such as wipes etc.. In case of finding this type of waste, it is necessary to pick it up to be able to throw it in the corresponding container.

It is very important to leave the shells in their place, the sea. These are formed of phallic bicarbonate and when they die, these animals fall apart and become part of a cycle returning to the sea and being absorbed by it.In this way, they allow other animals, such as shrimps or crabs etc, to build their shell with the remaining material dissolved in the sea.

Cleaning in the forest:

During plastic collection in the forest you are not as likely to take things we shouldn't as on the beach. Simply collect cigarette butts, plastics, cigarette boxes, construction materials, etc. without disturbing the natural environment.

Avoid uprooting unnecessary plants and flowers and taking stones or elements that belong to the natural environment. These plants and stones belong to the ecosystem of many animals and therefore we cannot alter it. Special attention should be paid to garbage accumulated in water flows, as this is the main source of water in the forest ecosystems and if they contain plastic they can affect the animals in the area.

In our plastic collections we have found on several occasions construction materials entangled inside ant nests. In these cases, we can contact the corresponding department of our municipality or try to remove it as far as possible without disturbing the nests.

And then?

A garbage collection without a subsequent recycling process is a waste collection in vain.

Once the collection is finished, it is very important to separate the waste. Here we will give practical examples of how to recycle the most common items that we find in the collections, dividing them by container:

Waste (gray):

  • Cigarette butts

  • Used tissues

  • Pacifiers

  • Crockery or cutlery

  • Plastic or metal objects other than containers

  • Aerosols (with contents)

Organic (brown):

  • Fruit skins

  • Plants

  • Napkins with food residues

  • Papers and cardboard stained with grease or oil

  • Corks

Paper (blue)

  • Newspapers

  • Paper bags

  • Cigarette packs without plastic

Glass (green):

  • Glass bottles

  • Cosmetic and cologne bottles

  • Can jars

Plastics and cans (yellow):

  • Aerosols (with emptied contents).

  • Bricks

  • Metal containers

  • Metal bottle caps

  • Plastic caps

  • Water bottles (use the remainder to irrigate the area where you find it)

  • Soft drinks

  • Plastic bags

  • Plastic construction waste

  • Snack bags (potatoes,...)

  • Plastic part of cigarette packs

Clean point:

  • Batteries

  • CDs

  • Furniture

  • Household appliances

  • Clothing and footwear

  • Light bulbs


  • Expired drugs: there are collection points in pharmacies for the deposition of these.

What are you waiting for! Now you know everything you need to know to make your own garbage collection. It's a great way to raise awareness among the little ones or to spend a day in nature doing a good deed.

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1 Comment

Don't mess around with hauling your own yard waste or construction debris, contact a junk or trash removal company for that job.They can do that work professionally and easily like junk car plantation team has done that job for me.

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