Everyone seems to be looking for grandiose solutions to our international rubbish clearance problems. Grandiose solutions that actually work are amazing of course. More power to those Big Thinkers out there who can come up with them!
However, when it comes to solving our global rubbish clearance crisis, it is sometimes best to attack this monstrosity of a multi-faceted problem with a “death by a thousand cuts” approach! In other words, if we can come up with a thousand smaller solutions, all aimed at the same big problem, this could be equivalent to one big grandiose solution — maybe even bigger!
One good example of a “death by a thousand cuts” approach to this global crisis is Clearabee, a rubbish clearance company in the UK. By taking a variety of approaches, Clearabee has been able to divert more than ninety percent of the rubbish they clear from landfills. Clearabee, led by the sustainability visionary Daniel Long, did not achieve this impressive stat using one grandiose method. Instead, they found hundreds of ways to go about that, and all these tactics added up to a big and amazing result!
Clearabee and their eco-minded customers know that landfills are basically ticking time bombs given all the environmental and health catastrophes they create! So, they put their nose to the grindstone and found multiple solutions to avoiding this impending environmental disaster. Their approach is almost a form of guerilla warfare and it is to be much commended! In fact, it’s one of the reasons they have so rapidly grown to be the UK’s #1 private rubbish clearance service.
As citizens, we can follow Clearabee’s lead and look for multiple relatively small ways to reduce rubbish clearance, both in our own daily lives and in our communities. Below, you will find two very doable solutions on how to reduce rubbish clearance. Further, we offer you suggestions on how to incentivise other people to use these same rubbish clearance solutions too so you can magnify your efforts.
1. Reusable Thermal Coffee Mugs and Thermoses
One of the most littered items in parks, beaches, and roads are paper and styrofoam coffee cups. They’re everywhere, along with their plastic lids! So, if you hit the coffee shop on a regular basis, why not take along your own reusable coffee mug or reusable coffee thermos and have them fill those with coffee instead? As a bonus, you can get the thermal kind and keep your coffee nice and hot longer!
Now, how can you incentivise other people to do the same? That’s simple. Most people absolutely love to save money. Talk to the owner or manager of your favorite coffee shop(s) and suggest they give a substantial discount to those who bring in their own coffee mug or coffee thermos. Tell them how good this will be for attracting more customers and for building loyalty with their existing customers. You may even want to encourage them by offering to write some rave reviews online and in the local “letters to the editor” if they do!
Here’s another idea on how to incentivise people to use this solution for our rubbish clearance crisis. Start a fundraiser to buy reusable thermal coffee mugs to give away to people who walk into the coffee shop you just convinced to offer a substantial discount to those who bring in their own mug! Maybe print on the mug, “I’m Part of the Solution To the Rubbish Clearance Crisis!”
2. Reusable Snack Bags, Reusable Sandwich Bags, and Reusable Lunch Packs
Food packaging is rubbish clearance frequently not recycled at schools and littered in public places. So, why not send the kiddies off to school with cute reusable, washable, snack bags/sandwich bags (and containers) that other kids will be fawning over and want for their very own?
If you search Amazon or Etsy, or just do a general Google search for “reusable snack bags” or similar terms, you’ll find plenty of kid friendly reusable bags. Some come with zippered tops even! In a ten minute search, I found a wide variety of colorful geometric patterns, space cats, flowers, Batman, Star Wars, lady bugs, fish, sharks, frogs, turtles, dinosaurs, zebras, dolphins, storks, dragons, bears, wolves, jelly fish, horses, hot air balloons, and many more zazzy designs!
Because I hadn’t found it yet, I did another more specific search for “Harry Potter reusable sandwich bags,” and lo and behold, I instantly found hundreds of Harry Potter themed options, from Etsy, PinInterest, Overstock, and numerous Mum and Pop shops! There were also lots of reusable Harry Potter lunch totes too!
So, instead of sending your kids off to school with those BORING and environmentally destructive single use plastic bags, that will only get binned and headed for the landfills, why not invest in some reusable snack bags. Now, how do you incentivise their daily return? That’s easy… let the kids themselves pick out the design they want! When their friends notice these reusable bags and want one too, you can then suggest giving them as birthday gifts. This will keep a lot of plastic out of rubbish clearance. Remember, it really adds up over the course of a school year.
These reusable snack bags and reusable sandwich bags don’t have to be just for kids. There are many beautiful designs your co-workers would covet just as much as any school kid! Pick out some cool designs, pack your break time snacks and lunches in them, and then take note of who compliments you on what. Guess what? Now you have the perfect gift ideas for birthdays and holidays! You can incentivise your co-workers to stop using single use plastic bag simply by giving them reusable bags with a design you know for sure they really like!