The Importance of Picking Up Trash With Your Kids
One of my pet peeves besides visible graffiti on nature, is the trash we see riddled along the trails. Whenever we hike as a family or solo, we try our best to collect any trash in our sight. We talk to our kids all the time on why we should always do our part to making sure our parks are clean. Here are some tips on collecting trash on the trail.
- Bring a plastic bag and tuck it into your pack every time you go decide to hike. If you have a dog, make it a habit to just grab an extra bag on your way out.
- Use sticks and branches to assist you in picking up trash that you don’t want to touch or if you made snacks in a sandwich bags, use those as makeshift “gloves.” I’ve also used my trekking poles to collect trash.
- We don’t pick up items like syringes or weapons. If you see one on the trail, be sure to report it to a ranger or park official.
- Challenge your kids to a trash pick-up competition. See who can collect the most trash during the hike.
- Trash is bad for the environment. If you have the knowledge behind it, make it a point explain to your kids why certain litter is bad for the environment and why. For instance, we came across a mylar balloon on a recent hike asked one of our kids to pick it up. We noted that they kill wildlife and that they don’t break down for a really long time. Just having these conversations is enough to make a huge impact on them and who knows, maybe they’ll pass on the information to others.
- Kids are kids–sometimes they don’t realize they are littering because their absent-mindedness takes over. If your kids are going to eat on the trail, always make it a point to tell them to pack their trash when they’re done.
I can’t tell you to feel bad if you don’t pick up trash on your hikes. But I will say that if you leave it, someone who does care will pick it up. When you don’t participate in picking up litter, you’re saying it’s ok to negatively impact the environment in which you live in. Not to mention leaving trash behind only makes your beautiful hikes which you love so much, ugly over time.
Let’s be more mindful, more assertive, and lastly, let’s pass this message on to our kids who we want to grow up loving and caring about their environment as much as we do!