Bucket Brigade AWAY

Bucket Brigade AWAY

At this point you've likely either seen the litter problem yourself, or perhaps you feel the itch to take action based on what we've shown you so far. We want to connect with new and veteran litter pickers to form the Bucket Brigade. This will be the AWAY Project's army of foot soldiers on the ground taking on litter piece-by-piece.

Anyone is welcome to join the Bucket Brigade, especially anyone who is still skeptical about whether litter is really a problem. Once you start looking around the problem should become pretty evident. Joining the Brigade is easy to do, it doesn't require investments or detailed training, and it will begin to yield real results immediately. Let's connect and take on this problem together!

Check out this short introduction video and then we'll explore some more details below ...

Who is the bucket brigade?

The Bucket Brigade is a group of volunteers taking on the problems of litter and illegal dumping piece-by-piece. It is quickly becoming a major eyesore in a lot of places, and that doesn't even considering the potential environmental impacts of each piece. Since many of these single-use products won't biodegrade for dozens to hundreds of years (possibly thousands by some estimates), it's not just going to go away on it's own. Worse yet, its actually accumulating while plastic production increases!

Do you accept the challenge?

It's going to take a lot of people-power to take on the vast amount of litter I'm seeing accumulating out there. We would encourage everyone who follows the AWAY Project to grab a bucket and take action at your favorite places!

The Bucket Brigade is both a personal commitment AND a social support network. Hopefully, many of us can connect at group cleanup events and pick up trash together. The internet will provide a means for use to connect with other concerned citizens around the world!

Built to last ...

Like litter, the AWAY Project is being built to last. We're just getting started on a vision we're committed to for years to come. We have no expectations of fixing the litter problem overnight, and because this is a genuine grass-roots movement we're not just going to give up when the going gets rough. We're in this with you for the long haul! 

Looking to the future we're already hunting down sources of used buckets that can be salvaged and repurposed to keep them out of landfills. I've personally witnessed hundreds and hundreds of 5-gallon buckets being thrown directly into the trash after JUST ONE USE!  We're hoping that over time we will be able to set up a means of distributing these salvaged buckets to folks interested in joining the bucket brigade. As well as distributing them to Brigade members interested in starting a local chapter and organizing their own local group cleanup campaigns.  

BUCKET BRIGADE AWAY!!

 

Step 1: Save a bucket!

"I've personally witnessed hundreds and hundreds of 5-gallon buckets being thrown directly into the trash after JUST ONE USE!"

There are a few good reasons for choosing buckets as our primary action tool. First and foremost, as a symbol. In some parts of the world, a 5-galloon bucket is considered so valuable it would be offensive to drill a hole in the bottom. Yet here in the United States they can be found everywhere. I see them on the side of the road constantly! 

On top of that, many industries regard them as a single-use item. For instance, in Pennsylvania, a restaurant can't re-use a pickle bucket to store other food if it's clearly marked as a pickle bucket. Crazy right? Our hope is to salvage and re-purpose as many as we can! There are many industries which regularly send these buckets to the landfill. Call around to some local businesses and ask if they can hold on to a bucket for you. You can also find them regularly being given away for free on Craigslist.

In addition to being a symbol, the buckets offer us a reusable container that helps avoid using plastic bags which take unknown numbers of years to biodegrade in landfills. If you're able to get a bucket with a lid they're also typically watertight. That's really handy when you want a small container to put in your trunk that will contain any smell or small amounts of contaminated liquids that might be in the litter and ultimately your bucket. so try to find buckets with lids.

Buckets also act as a conversation starter. If people start popping up on trails and in popular destinations carrying these buckets people are going to wonder what's going on. Take a moment to tell people about what you're doing and raise awareness about litter.

Finally, filling the bucket is a modest goal that isn't overwhelming. We've got a big task ahead of us and there's no need to tackle the world in one day, but now that you have your reusable container you're ready for step 2 ...

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Step 2: Let's clean!

"Once you start noticing the litter it's hard to stop, and it feels pretty good every time you fill that bucket."

You've got your bucket, now it's time to get to work! Make a personal commitment to get out and fill your bucket at least once a week. The bucket will seem big at first, but it typically doesn't take long to fill it up. There are many sites I've recently visited that only took 5-10 minutes of simply walking around the parking lot to fill the bucket to the top.

The only other tools you may need is a good pair of gloves (we recommend a pair of water-resistant leather work gloves so they can be reused and offer a bit more protection than latex gloves), and a grabber if you want to save your back from the stress of bending over constantly. If you're planning on picking up near traffic high-visibility vests and/or clothing would be highly recommended. Safety first!

How much and how often you pick up is totally up to you. I would recommend starting with a simple goal of going out once a week. Once you start noticing the litter it's hard to stop, and it feels pretty good every time you fill that bucket. So once you get into the habit of a weekly walk you may find yourself wanting to step it up to twice a week or more. Before long you might start attending group walks in your area, or maybe even begin coordinating a local bucket brigade of your own!

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Step 3: Sort it!

 

"strive to reclaim whatever raw materials we can"

Once you get home with your bucket it's time to sort out the recyclables from the refuse. You should know that much of what you'll collect is not considered recyclable. Yes, unfortunately, recycling doesn't quite meet the imagery many of us have in our heads, but we should still strive to reclaim whatever raw materials we can. Metals and glass are highly recyclable, but there's a lot of grey areas about which plastics are recyclable. This is a topic I will be covering in more depth later, but for now be sure to check with your local municipality or trash removal provider to find out whats recyclable in your area.

If you have room at your home, or place of business, to store collected items there are a variety of options you can find online for recycling things your municipality just won't except. For some really hard to recycle items such as chip bags, cigarette butts, foil packets, etc. I would recommend checking out terracycle.org. They have a very interesting approach to recycling!

 

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Let's connect!

#bucketbrigadeaway

The AWAY Project is intended to be a combination of personal commitment and collective action. If you want to take the lone wolf approach that's cool!  If you want to organize some friends in your area that's awesome as well! Whenever you're ready we would love for you to checkout some of the links below and share your journey with us. Another big part of our mission is raising awareness about this issue, we hope that collectively we can remove the litter and raise the level of consciousness about what's littering our backyards.

Earth Day Rivertrail Cleanup

Earth Day Rivertrail Cleanup

April 22 - 9am

Northwest Lancaster County River Trail

Riverfront Park - East Donegal Township

We are very excited to announce our first AWAY Project litter cleanup event, the Earth Day Rivertrail Cleanup. Join us on Earth Day, thats Sunday April 22, 2018, at East Donegal Township's Riverfront Park, where we will be meeting at 9 am to pick up litter along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. This event is part of the 'Great American Cleanup' organized by Keep America Beautiful and keeppabeautiful.org, and we're excited to be getting involved at one of our favorite local outdoor destinations.

Years of vision and planning lead to the creation of one of the most enjoyable trails in Lancaster County. That would of course be the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail that spans 14 miles from the Columbia Crossing River Trail Visitor Center, all the way up to the Falmouth boat launch near the westernmost tip of the county.

If you've never been on the trail I can't wait to introduce you. If you have, then come on out and show your appreciation for the trail by helping to clean it up!

 

About the AREA

Views near Riverfront Park

Shocks Mill Bridge - Norfolk Southern Railroad

White CLiffs of Conoy

Koser Park in Bainbridge, PA.

White CLiffs of Conoy Streetview

Riverfront Park in East Donegal lies midway between Marietta and Bainbridge. A section boasting incredible landmarks between varying stretches of farmland and woods. All of this sits just back from the banks of the mighty Susquehanna.

These views and landmarks were previously inaccessible to the public, but the trail now provides a direct route. It has also provided countless hours of relaxing scenery for outdoor lovers of all ages, shapes, and sizes to enjoy. 

Riverfront Park -East Donegal Township

For the Earth Day River Trail Cleanup we will be meeting at East Donegal Township's Riverfront Park at 9am.

The park is located at the end of Vinegar Ferry Road just beyond the Railroad Bridge.

The newly installed Playground is Lucas approved, and definitely a great addition to the park!

 The park is aptly named as the pavilion and promenade sit right on the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River. During one of my visits in February the water was right up to the edge of the promenade.

The park is aptly named as the pavilion and promenade sit right on the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River. During one of my visits in February the water was right up to the edge of the promenade.

Litter Happens ...

While more and more people have been able to enjoy this area, people tend to leave trash. It's not always intentional, but it's out there in the wild and we need your help collecting and removing it!

We thought Earth Day would be a great time to kick off the AWAY Project and get out to meet some like-minded folks who also want to tackle the litter problem in our area! Let's chat while we work, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the River Trail, and have some fun giving back to the communities that host the trail for everyone's enjoyment.

What to expect:

Current Plan

The current plan is to meet at Riverfront Park in East Donegal Township at 9 am. From there we will split up heading north and south on the River Trail. Gloves and Garbage Bags will be provided and the litter collected will be removed by East Donegal Township.

You are welcome to bring your own gloves and reusable receptacle if you would like to help conserve bags and gloves (we would recommend a 5-gallon bucket which can be found by calling a variety of local businesses who would otherwise throw them away). You are also welcome to bring your own grabber device. Not a bad investment if you're looking to join more AWAY Project cleanup events. 

1435 - NWLCRT - Lucas Grabbing Litter

 Alternate Plans

Tell your friends, we'll take as much support as we can get! The trail is only so wide, but we have a few contingency plans in case we have too many people for just one section of the trail. We want to make sure everyone's effort is achieving it's greatest impact. The more support we get the more area we will be able to cover!

Be sure to RSVP on our Facebook Event Page, or drop a comment below to let us know you're coming. The more the merrier, but getting an idea of how many people are coming will help in developing our plan of attack. 

 
River Trail Sign
Be sure to RSVP on the Facebook Event, or drop a comment below to let us know you’re coming

 

Map

The Map below will help you get to Riverfront Park for the event, and I've added a few pictures of key landmarks along the River Trail for anyone who's never been there. Definitely one of my top to-dos in Lancaster County.

Contact us ...

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at theawayproject@gmail.com, or you can use the contact form below ... 

 

Can't make it? Stay in touch!

This is our first group cleanup, but it won't be the last! Be sure to like our facebook page below, join the group, and subscribe to the Peace-by-Piece Newsletter to keep in the know about upcoming events and more!! 

About the Away Project

About the Away Project

Welcome to the "Away Project"

Over the past couple of years, some of my photography friends and I have noticed a staggering amount of litter accumulating at all of our favorite places. We want to do something about it by taking positive action while increasing awareness. 

A large amount of this litter consists of single-use plastics, things that are meant to be thrown "away". We started think about AWAY, and it's starting to feel like "away" is EVERYWHERE!

 

When I first decided to take action I thought it would be best to simply lead by example and tackle the issue head-on. Not a lot of need to start out with pointing fingers and trying to place the blame. The litter is out there, I don't know exactly how it got there and I don't know exactly who released it into the wild, but it's out there now and it's accumulating rapidly.

That's why I am taking this issue on as a personal mission. I've already started picking it up piece-by-piece while I'm out shooting photos, hiking, or otherwise enjoying the outdoors. While I share this journey with you I hope that it will inspire you to join me in this cause!

Simple Steps to Start:

Here is a little run down of how I'm approaching the litter problem. For now the idea is to simply take a stand and pitch in to help remove some of this rubbish, but as you will see in step 4, I believe that litter is deeply connected to many other environmental concerns. It's time to start raising awareness to just how big of a problem litter has become. 

So far the response has been very positive, and we will continue to broaden our knowledge. We will also be looking for new ways to make an impact in the future beyond just picking up litter. Here are a few steps to get us started, we don't need to fix all of the world's problems today.

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Step 1: See the situation yourself

We can all step outside of our homes and touch a piece of litter within a few minutes, if not seconds. Litter is not an abstract or theoretical problem, it isn't a headline or documentary from a far away land, and it's not a question of left-right politics. For every large piece along the highway there are millions of tiny micro pieces mixed into the dirt, grass, rocks, etc.

While we were picking up trash at Middle Creek people had a look of amazement on their faces when they would see us with an entire bag of trash coming out of what looks like a very natural environment. But how often do we actually stop to poke around and look in the brush?

WARNING: Once you see it, it's hard to stop

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Step 2: Start With Simple Actions 

Once the problem comes into focus it becomes hard to ignore. There is so much litter around it may feel overwhelming. While overcoming this problem is going to take a lot of action by a lot of people, you can start right now with simple actions.

Get yourself some gloves, a grabber, and a 5 gallon bucket with a lid (alternately you could get different reusable receptacle, or at the very least biodegradable bags). Set aside a day or more each week to pick up some litter while enjoying your favorite outdoor places. Take it home, sort out the recyclables, and add it to your residential trash. No need to tackle the whole problem at once.

We're currently working on securing a supply of 5 gallon buckets for those interested in joining our Bucket Brigade crew (coming soon). In the meantime many local stores have buckets that can be spared from our landfills, just ask around.

Simple actions like this not only attack the litter problem piece-by-piece, but they also set a positive example for others to take action. Be the change you want to see in society, and lead by example today!

 

Step 3: Organize
1424 - Tyler White Cliffs Rivertrail Photowalk

Together we will find our way!

 

I have had the wonderful opportunity to build some cherished friendships with complete strangers over the years through my photography. Under all the advertisements, sponsored content, arguing, and #fakenews floating around lies the foundational technology that allows us to connect around topics we care about.

We're going to start basic by using the technology at our fingertips to meet new friends who have the passion to take action on litter. Step 2 is all about you, but Step 3 unites us to work towards finding our way together. Much like the simplicity of our personal commitment step 3 is starting small through organized group cleanup events. We're also communicating with knowledgeable organizations about setting up informational workshops, movie nights, and other events to enjoy and learn together.

Starting today:

Be sure to subscribe to the AWAY blog, and checkout our new Facebook Page and Group using the buttons below. We wanna keep in touch with you about upcoming events and our overall progress. We also want to hear your away stories, so use the #theawayproject hashtag when you post your pictures of litter and taking action!

 

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Litter is just a piece of the puzzle

However, it is a great starting point for encouraging environmental discussion and action. You don't need to be a tree hugging dirt worshipper to want cleaner neighborhoods and parks right? Litter pollution is effecting all of us!

When you begin to notice the litter you quickly recognize how much of it consists of single use plastics. Then you begin to notice how much single use plastic and other disposable items you come into contact with on a daily basis. Then you learn that the amount of fossil fuels used to create water bottles pales in comparison to the amount used to make poly based fabrics. 

Vast amounts of resources are being used to make mountains of single use products. Are we sure this is the best use of these resources which take millions of years to create? How do my habits contribute to this growing problem? Where did the stuff in my recycling bin go? They sort my recyclables right? 

These are some questions I've been asking myself. Do you know the answers? When I started challenging some of my assumptions I found out just how little I actually knew.

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Not So Far Away ...

As litter piles up on land some of it is making it's way to sea. We're hearing more and more of the giant spinning patches of micro-plastics in the five major gyres around the world's oceans. Living inland it's hard to comprehend this problem out in the vastness of the open ocean. However, the problem is hitting closer to home as this issue comes into focus in the Chesapeake Bay.

Water connects all of us from the Mountain Springs, to the creeks and streams. Where the streams meet and create mighty rivers that then flow to the Bays and beyond to the Gulfs and Oceans.Water connects the world.

This time of year the mighty Susquehanna is rising with each passing rainstorm. Head down to the river while the water is high and you'll see litter flowing with the current. Head down after the waters recede and the vegetation along the banks is filled with entangled debris. 

It brings the ocean issue closer to home for me. I believe that whatever amount of debris we can keep from loosing to the Susquehanna will benefit others who rely on these waters downstream from us. Allowing this trash to simply drift by seems just as bad as allowing it to get into the river in the first place.

Lets GO!

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