Making Yourself a Garbage Collector

April 10, 2024

Approximately 3 minute read time.

I Love Morning Walks, However…

Over the course of the last few months, barring any cold weather, my wife and I decided that we were going to start going on walks together with our daughter! It’s been so nice in the morning being able to just go on a walk around our community and see all the squirrels and rabbits running around, running into the same neighbors that we’ve seen several times who’s name we don’t know and their dogs who’s name we also don’t know, bumbling over crambly walking paths, and of course, my most favorite part of all:

Walking down the sidewalk past all of the empty liqour shooters and coffee cups, beer cans that had been shredded by lawn mowers, and lots of other incredibly random pieces of trash, such as pieces of industrial electrical cable and tupperware.

What, who doesn’t love themselves some good ol’ fashion trash? It’s no secret that people litter, and it’s not that I didn’t notice that there was some trash before, but we didn’t always go on walks 3-5 times per week, and I never noticed the amount of trash around my neighborhood until we did. It was just… Kinda gross. Really gross. Pretty yucky.

Now, street sweepers would pick up trash sometimes, and they regularly come around and clean up the streets, but they don’t get everything, and they certainly don’t drive over the curb to pick up the trash on the sides of the sidewalk. If you’re like me too, you’re probably not going to pick up any trash unless it actually lands on your property. But… what if the property the trash is on is technically owned by the city, but yet the city doesn’t send anyone to pick the trash up? Well, you end up with what the three of us saw on our morning walks.

But then one day, at Target, I saw that they had these little plastic $5 trash pickers, and I realized in that moment that I was going to become the one thing I was always the most thankful for in so many programming languages:

Ma, I’m a Garbage Collector!

Picking up trash around your neighborhood can be really fun! All you gotta do is get something you can pick up trash with. That could be a pair of heavy-duty gloves (so that you don’t get poked or prodded), or it could be a grabber claw thingy like I have (though I might recommend a heavier-duty one than the $5 one from Target). For just $5, I’ve been able to relish in the newfound benefits that garbage collecting around my neighborhood provides!

A bag of trash I picked up from around my neighborhood, with the garbage
grabber I got leaning on top of it

Picking up trash around your community not only helps your neighborhood look nicer and cleaner, but it’s also just a fun activity that literally anyone can do, for little to no cost, that gets you out of the house. For someone like me, who loves to spend their time writing code, making websites, and playing video games, this is a great way for me to bump up my step counts.

I’m probably not going to be picking up trash every day, but I do think I’ll enjoy doing this at least once per week for the foreseeable future. I’m really hoping that the above bag of trash is not going to be the norm, and I honestly think that picking up the trash that I did really did make a difference.

Some of the trash that I had picked up was trash that had been sitting around for at least a week, and I wasn’t really convinced that anyone was really going to do anything about it. Besides, not everyone just walks around certain parts of our neighborhood because they’re mostly empty plots of land. Still, it all got there somewhere, and I know the wind didn’t shred those beer cans up.

Anyway, it felt good to do something like this. I had never really done anything like it before, and it felt a lot like cleaning around my house or mowing my beer cans grass or any other household chore: it took some time to do it, but I felt a lot better about how everthing looked when it was all said and done. Now when we go on our walks, I feel just a little less gross!

What Now?

Like I said, I’m going to try to do this once a week for a while. If you got this far into the post, I’d encourage you to give this a shot, or find some other way to help out around your neighborhood! Heck, some people even do live streams of them picking up trash near where they live.

This post was trash, but hopefully the next one will be something cool. Catch all y’all on the next one.