Eco-Life Challenge, Day 1: Clean up the Neighborhood


Look deeply enough and you’ll find there’s trash in all corners of our communities, even in the nicest of streets. Litter travels in many ways -- people litter, it blows in the wind, falls out of pockets, off trash trucks and travels in waterways.

To understand why this is such a problem, it must be realized that litter is actually pollution. It’s not just some arbitrary object floating around on the Earth, it actually is poisoning the planet. What can biodegrade will, and what’s left are cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottles and bottle caps, plastic bags, straws and takeout containers. As these objects sit in our environment, they begin leaching toxins into the Earth and waterways. And that is bad news for us.


Make a new practice of picking up a handful of trash each day. It may not seem like it makes much of a difference, but 3 pounds of litter picked up just once a week adds up to 156 lbs of trash per year! And you can rest well knowing that you’ve taken something away that is harmful to our waterways, neighboring animal friends and our Earth.

The added bonus? Being an inspiration for others -- you never know who might see you cleaning up and be moved to do the same thing, doubling your impact!

Recommended Action:

Call some friends, grab some housemates, bags and gloves to clean up in your neighborhood — you’ll be surprised how much you can find in just 30 minutes! Weigh your bag and send the results to pablo (at) or tag us in a social media post with the weight so we can see what the grand total pick up is for The Eco-Life Challenge…


Benefits to picking up:

  • Litter = More Litter: People have a tendency to mimic what is around them and are more likely to litter if there is other litter around or other people are tossing trash. For example, if you see a group of people smoking and the first person throws their cigarette butt on the floor then chances are the rest will follow suit. Thankfully, it works the other way around too — people are less likely to litter if they are in an area with very little litter or are surrounded by people who are making a conscious effort to discard waste properly. Let’s lead by example.

  • Protect wildlife: Over 100,000 marine animals are affected by litter pollution. Imagine how much higher that number is when you include animals on land too. Wild animals and domesticated animals get trapped in discarded litter every day around the world. So if you love animals and wildlife like me, why not do everything you can to protect it? Go out and pick up litter to protect your neighborhood critters.

  • Create a community: Show friends and neighbors how much you care by picking up around the neighborhood and imagine how your impact might double or triple! Your actions will inspire people to do the same and are such an authentic way to create community through mutual care for our direct surroundings. Imagine if just one person from every neighborhood could get even just one person to do the same — what a beautiful Durham we will be!

  • Physical Exercise: What better way to get into shape than cleaning up your neighborhood? Walking, lifting, range of motion and a little bit of sunshine.