Group of people picking up litter in a forest. Photo: Ron Lach/Pexels.

World Cleanup Day: Going Beyond Trash Pickup!

Looking for something to do this weekend? Come join the millions of people who will be participating in World Cleanup Day this Saturday, Sept. 16th to tidy up our beautiful planet.


What is World Cleanup Day?

World Cleanup Day logo. A figure of a person running with a trash bag over their shoulder. The bag reads "World Cleanup Day".

World Cleanup Day is a global initiative that brings together millions of individuals, communities, and organizations to participate in litter cleanup activities. It began in 2008 as a community effort to clean up litter and mismanaged waste in Estonia, in which it took 50,000 people just 5 hours to clean up the entire county. Last year, over 14.9 million people from 190 countries joined forces to clean up beaches, parks, streets, and other public spaces, picking up 60,000 tons of waste over the entire day! It’s a powerful example of what humanity can achieve when we work together for a common cause.


Finding a Cleanup Event

Participating in a World Cleanup Day event is easy! You can start by checking out the official World Cleanup Day website or searching social media for local events in your area. Many local environmental groups, community organizations, and even schools organize cleanup activities. Some of our favorite environmental organizations in the Boston area are Surfrider (the Massachusetts chapter), the Charles River Watershed Association, and Boston Harbor Now. Volunteering with groups like these, whether it’s for World Cleanup Day or any other day of the year, is an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and contribute to the immediate improvement of your neighborhood. It’s also an important reminder that your effort, no matter how small, counts towards creating a cleaner and healthier planet!

Volunteers at a Boston Harbor Now cleanup. Three women hold a garbage bag full of litter they picked up during the cleanup event and smile at the camera.
Volunteers at a cleanup. Credit: Boston Harbor Now


Going Beyond Cleanups

While picking up trash and keeping our green spaces litter-free is undoubtedly important (picking up litter and waste prevents these items from harming wildlife, entering nearby water bodies, and polluting our ecosystems!), we also need to recognize that cleanups only address part of our waste problem. Cleaning up after the mess without question where it’s coming from is a bit like mopping the floor while the faucet is still running – it's crucial but doesn't address the root cause.

A large part of our waste problem comes from a throwaway culture that prioritizes convenience over our planet’s health. Since plastic is cheap, lightweight, and easy for companies to produce, most industries choose single-use plastics over optimizing sustainable product and packaging options. Once those plastics are discard after a couple minutes of use, these same companies shift the responsibility for cleaning up plastic waste onto the public. (More about that in this fantastic Scientific American article).

Styrofoam cup found on a Massachusetts beach during a cleanup. Credit: Brian Yurasits/Unsplash


The real fix? Rethinking how we use and dispose of plastics and pushing for more sustainable alternatives. If we can turn off the tap of new single-use plastics, it’ll increase the impact of our cleanup efforts.

Supporting sustainable alternatives and businesses like Uvida Shop sends a powerful message to industries: consumers want eco-friendly options. When we vote with our wallets for non-polluting alternatives, we show them that there's a demand for products and packaging that don't harm our planet. This paves the way for industries to shift towards more sustainable practices, making such options more accessible and mainstream. Our choices as consumers have the potential to shape industries and drive positive change!

Zero waste products for Uvida Shop. Photo includes wax wraps, reusable coffee cup, mouthwash tablets, dry body brush, cotton produce and bulk bags, plastic-free sponges, sage stick, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner bars, facial sponge, and lava pumice stone.
Photo: Plastic-free swaps for daily household items, available at Uvida Shop.


What Are Your Weekend Plans?

So, what are you doing this Saturday? We’ll be grabbing a pair of gloves and joining all the other amazing community members picking up litter for World Cleanup Day. And then we’ll be right back to making plastic-free and sustainable home essentials easier to access, and hopefully a little more mainstream. Come visit us at our Brookline storefront, or checkout our online store to learn more about zero waste!

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