Archive for August, 2009

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Week 47 – A Different Point of View

August 30, 2009

With a 6 hour round trip to and from Seattle and Portland this weekend it’s no wonder that I’m a bit tired.  Helping my niece Cami settle in to the University of Portland was worth the ride.  She was so excited and filled with trepidation at the same time, excitement clearly the overall winner.

It was so much fun to see family and the best part was to see the Pacific Northwest through new eyes.  Vance (my brother-in-law) saw a squirrel for the first time and asked if it was a mongoose.  It made me remember when I first moved here and asked what the things poking out of the walls of my apartment were  (they were space heaters).

You start taking for granted the natural beauty;  mountains,  trees, animals, etc.  It was a good reminder to stop and smell the rhododendrons.  Ben and I did a quick pick up at the bottom of the hill in West Seattle on 35th Avenue and continued to pick up litter all the way to the pretty Totem Pole Viewpoint on Alaska Street that overlooks the cascades and downtown Seattle.

A different point  of view sometimes helps keep everything in perspective. Two buckets and 20 minutes later we stopped to enjoy the view.

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Parker from Manchester, NH

August 29, 2009

Parker from Manchester, NH is the newest member of the Bucket Heads club. Welcome aboard and well done to you Parker!

Parker wrote:

Ben and Lori, I too have been picking up litter all my life.  My favorite tools are a pull type of gripper and a wide mouth canvas type of bag from home depot, from this bag I transfer the trash to a regular trash bag.  Two weeks ago, I picked up 12 bags worth on an interstate exit about 1/10th of a mile long. This type of disregard continues to blow my mind, but I know that there are others like us out there.

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Week 46 – Every Litter Bit Hurts

August 24, 2009

Ben’s family and I took a weekend camping trip to Ohanapecosh.  Ohana (just for fun) means “family” in Hawaiian.  This Hawaii girl felt part of the family as we camped, sang and hiked.

Ben took a hike with his mom to Silver Falls as the girls dipped our toes in the Hot Springs.  A day trip to Sunrise,  S’mores and Bingo (a new camping tradition) rounded out a wonderful time had by all.

Ben and I had every intention to fill up recycled grocery bags as a stand in for our buckets this week but the litter was minimal.  A piece of paper, cigarette butt and a napkin was all that Ben could muster on his hike.  We all found bits of plastic and trash around the camp ground leaving it cleaner than when we arrived.

But it doesn’t matter how little the amount of trash collected, because every tiny little bit of litter will effect our eco-system and our planet.  How vile is it to be in a place called Paradise and look down and see a random piece of trash?  It made us happy that the litter found at Mt. Rainier was minimal.

We encourage everyone to just slip a bag in their pocket wherever they go and pick up some trash along the way…no matter how small the amount.  It will help the earth tremendously.  As a bonus, it will make you feel good! It looks better and it could be a wonderful tradition to pass on to your children.  If you start now to make a habit of picking up any litter you find on your picnic, hike, walk on the beach, etc…you will be doing the world a world of good, because every litter bit hurts.

(Since we didn’t fill up two buckets on our camping trip, we dropped off the camping supplies this afternoon and filled up two quick buckets in West Seattle.)

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Week 45 – Do the Right Thing

August 17, 2009

Several weeks ago we were interviewed on AM 1090’s Community Matters (to listen to our interview, click here). We do strongly believe that community matters. Today we attended a rally at the Tacoma News Tribune demanding a public option for health care. To take a look at Lori (black shirt at the counter) and me (red shirt to the right of Lori) in this picture click here.

This evening we headed out to pick up litter from the same stretch of roadway that we’ve hit for the past three weeks. We are making a dent but there’s still enough to lead us back to the same spot next week.

During our radio interview, Lee Callahan asked us if we have ever found anything interesting while picking up litter. We answered, “not really”. Well today that all changed.  While filling two buckets we found a registration holder (like those that would hang over your car’s sun visor). We immediately thought that a car thief had thrown this holder out the window and into the wooded area on Sylvan Way in West Seattle.

Being the community oriented people that we are, we have spent the last forty-five minutes trying to contact the non-emergency police line to no avail. While it is frustrating to not reach a police officer, we will persevere.

Just like we will continue to support health care reform, the bottle bill, the bag tax AND pick up a bucket of litter every week.  What will you DO?

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Brin from Lynnwood, WA

August 17, 2009

I’ve been picking up litter at beaches from So. Cal, No. Cal, Lynnwood to Bellingham for years. I started doing it regularly when I came upon a young seal in the rocks at the shore that had some sort of plastic around its neck. I called Fish & Game for him, but by the time they got there there was no beach (tide came in).

So I pick stuff, especially trash and ropey plastic things and fishing line to try to get it not to happen again. The worst trash day is after July 4, when people go to the beach and leave their fireworks, especially in places like the Lummi ferry beach where they sell fireworks nearby. One year I took 800 pounds of fireworks crap and other garbage to the dump in Whatcom County. So if you’re ever looking for a special day to rally friends and invade beaches west of fireworks stands, July 5 is the day (and then somehow those beaches get re-trashed with leftover fireworks and picnic crap for the next few weeks, so there are plenty of excuses for followup trips to the beach.)

My most unusual item was a loaded, jammed semi-automatic pistol that someone plopped into the water, not knowing about tides, found at Meadowdale beach. The police said it was stolen.

I wonder if somebody could make a presentation to go around to schools with the photos you take, to encourage kids not to just unwrap that candy bar or whatever and drop the wrapper and walk away (which I see young folks do all the time).

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Week 44 – It’s just not my bag, baby!

August 9, 2009

On August 18th, Seattle residents will have the opportunity to let their voices be heard regarding the Seattle Bag Fee.  Referendum 1 is a $.20 fee per bag on all disposable bags at grocery, drug and convenience stores.

After reading all the pros and cons of this particular referendum, Ben and I will definitely be voting a resounding “YES!”

The argument which is being pushed by out of state chemical companies is that people do reuse these plastic bags and that Seattle is already over-taxed in these trying economic times.

I do agree on both points but at the same time the pros for the referendum outweigh the cons.  For example, if you bring your own reusable bags, you will NOT pay anything.  Ads seem to lean towards the fact that you will be paying this fee with every purchase at the store.  This is not true.  These fees will be in place  to promote people to use their own reusable bags instead of the plastic bags the stores provide.

Some organizations have stated that in the long run there is no long-lasting effect of this bag fee.  This is also untrue.  These bags can last up to a 1000 years in our environment!  Other states have adopted similar programs and have seen a significant drop in plastic bag consumption.  Ireland, which is where we modeled our referendum, has seen a 90% decrease in plastic bag consumption.

Seattle uses more than 300 million of these bags per year which end up in our oceans and littering our streets.    Ben and I have been filling buckets with litter for almost a year now and have picked up hundreds of these plastic bags.

Sure, it’s a bit of on inconvenience to remember to bring reusable bags to the store, but it is an even bigger inconvenience to pick up these disposable bags every week.

The polls seem to show that this will be tough referendum to get passed, so vote “YES” on referendum 1 or please support similar legislation in your city. It’s not in the bag…yet!

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Week 43- Message in the Bottles

August 2, 2009

Recently we were approached by one of our readers who is actively lobbying our State Legislators to enact a Bottle Bill in Washington similar to our neighbors in Oregon. We love this idea and went out this morning in search of bottles.

In only ten minutes we filled two buckets (overflowing) with fifty four bottles from a nearby roadside. Oregon refunds $.05 per bottle returned which means that Lori and I would’ve been paid $2.70 for ten minutes of easy labor! If our great State were to enact a similar bottle bill, I know plenty of of kids and adults who would love to make extra money gathering bottles from the roadside. Also a deposit would force people to think twice about throwing a bottle (or can) out of their car, hopefully also preventing them from tossing other litter as well.

I spent some time last week emailing our Governor and State Representatives asking them to take a look at enacting a bottle bill, so far none of them have responded to my inquiries.

Please make your voice heard on this important topic. For more info on Bottle Bills around the U.S. including an easy look-up for your Legislator’s email addresses, take a look at this great website: BottleBill.org

On another note, we have a radio interview scheduled next week that will air on Progressive Talk AM-1090’s Community Matters with Lee Callahan Sunday August 9th at 11AM.  Also check us out on their Eco-Minute broadcasts throughout the week.