26-year old Samuel Huber started what he calls Eco Running as a way to help the world while out doing his favorite thing, running. On his eco-runs, he carries a few small garbage bags and picks up litter all along the route. Recently, he has made the switch to biodegradable, compostable BioBags. Check out his web site and mention of BioBags and this blog, Fake Plastic Fish, at Ecology Runner. I want to not only commend him for his efforts but join in the eco-running movement he’s trying to start.
So, this morning, BioBag in hand and latex gloved (Here’s a cool video about how latex is made), I did a 30-minute eco-run towards Berkeley and back. My bag was full within the first 12 minutes, and I found I needed to stop picking up big things and concentrate on the items that, if washed down a storm drain, could end up inside the bellies of marine animals: bottle caps, small toys, a comb, a pacifier, plastic bags, even a rubber glove.
Stopping to pick up garbage slowed me down a bit (my average pace was 11:20/mile) and actually got me out of competition mode, the mode I tend to be in while recording my stats with the Nike+ iPod. You know, I’ll bet running would be a lot more fun if I gave up the Nike+. But I don’t know. The accountant in me wants all numbers all the time! (What, you couldn’t tell that from my weekly plastic tally?) Chi Running’s Danny Dreyer recommends leaving the watch at home. Maybe I’ll try it once a week on my eco-runs.
And yes, if you’re wondering, it was a little weird passing people as I ran carrying a garbage bag and wearing a latex glove. But at this point in life, I’m pretty much over caring about how I seem to other people. (Actually, I think I stopped caring by the end of high school, but that’s a story for another day and another blog.)
So, what to do with all the trash I collected? My plan is to retrieve the hard plastic bottle caps and other pieces of plastic, wash them off, and add them to my collection. I have this idea that I’ll use them in some kind of weird art creature thing some day. Then, any recyclable items will go in their proper recycling bins, and I’ll tie up the bag around the rest and put it in the garbage can. I may be saving 100% of my own plastic waste, but I’m not about to start hording other people’s.