#365DaysOfLitter: One woman's fight to clean up her local area

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A woman is keeping the streets of Bristol clean with a project to pick up litter every single day of 2018.

Claire Stone, 44, began the 365 days of litter project on New Year’s Day, inspired by a post she made on Instagram showing twelve easy-to-keep resolutions.

“As a nutritionist I try to be a bit sensible about things like resolutions. I always get frustrated at the start of the year when everyone is doing their ‘go on a diet, new year new you’ stuff,” she told the Press Association.

“So I wrote a list of 12 alternative new year resolutions and I just put it on my Instagram and website. I thought, I should probably do some of them.

One of the resolutions was to pick up 20 pieces of litter a day, something Stone does regularly anyway as part of the #2MinuteBeachClean movement. She decided to give it a try and post pictures of her efforts each day using the hashtag #365daysoflitter.

“I knew I wouldn’t stick with it if I didn’t have a bit of public accountability, so I decided to call it 365 days of litter and take a picture of me every single day. ”

So far she’s managed all of the last 123 days, bar one. It snowed on the day she missed, so Stone cleared a path for her neighbours on her road instead.

Stone has tweaked the challenge slightly since its inception. She included 20 cigarette butts and extra rubbish as she became aware of how many discarded ones littered the streets.

As a nutritionist, Stone says she finds the type of rubbish she picks up an alarming indictment of some people’s diets.

“It’s just insane how many sweet wrappers and bars of chocolate and crisps and unhealthy stuff – especially energy drinks – I mean people have energy drinks but it doesn’t give them enough energy to go and put the can in the bin…

“You never see the bags from carrots or apples anywhere.”

She also thinks retailers and manufacturers need to step up to reduce the amount of packaging with their products.

A lovely Day 105 of #365daysoflitter this morning. I collected three bags of rubbish (forgot to take a picture of the second one!) and found a bright blue carrier bag to use as my recycling bag. I ran farther than I have done in ages – thanks to the excitement of finding more litter! Am also going to email the @sainsburys distribution center in Emerson's Green because as huge amount of litter, esp cigarette butts, are all along the path where their workers head from the bus stop into and from work. #2minutestreetclean #2minutelitterpick #finditfillit #binyourbutts #justgrabbits #keepbritaintidy #keepbristoltidy #litterati #takeonefortheteam #reducesingleuse #lattelevy #plogging #plogger #bristol #southglos #southgloscouncil

A post shared by thismug.life (@thismug.life) on

“People are always going to want the stuff if it’s there and convenient so they need to somehow figure out a way to reduce the amount of packaging or make it easier to recycle,” Stone said.

“I’ve got a business and I know it’s not easy to go plastic-free or reduce plastic but if I can do it, then it can’t be that hard.”

All of the mugs from Stone’s business This Mug Life are packaged in cardboard only.

Stone isn’t content with just herself walking the walk on litter. She has launched a new project to encourage businesses to get their employees outside to pick up 15 pieces of litter each on a Friday, using the hashtag #FifteenOnFriday to share their work.

Why not join in?

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