Talking Rubbish: How Picking Up Trash Expanded My Worldview

May 26, 2019

Posted in  Lifestyle

Today, I brought a trash bag out on my morning walk.

The majority of what I bagged: wet wipes, candy wrappers and cigarette butts.

Why pick up trash?

Last month, I was part of a beach clean-up.

Although the original intention was to get a free ticket to an event (staying true to my cheapo self), I was surprised to have gotten much more out of it.

Wandering along the sands, picking up plastics and cigarette butts that were normally invisible to me, felt… nice.

I was in Japan, a country I’m not even a citizen of, picking up trash that hadn’t even been left behind by me, and yet….

I felt responsible for that beach. I wanted to take care of that beach. That beach wasn’t my home, wasn’t in my country, but it was in my world.

Suddenly, what was “my problem” expanded.

Sure, I wasn’t the original cause, but I was responsible too.

That feeling has stayed with me since, and I’ve wondered how I could replicate it in my every day.

Image from iOS (1)
A beauty worth caring for.


A small action is better than no action.

Of course, as a single person I can’t do everything.

Heck, I didn’t even fill up my entire bag with trash this morning because I discovered a baby roach was hitching a ride. Ugh.


On my return walk home, I was proud of the 50 metres of pavement now clear of trash.

And that, for today, was enough.

Tomorrow, I’ll do a little more.


I am not the perfect environmentalist.  

I value sustainability and reducing waste, but I am far from fully walking the talk.

I still use plastics, forget to turn off my lights and fail to recycle.

I don’t volunteer for causes, I don’t make regular donations and I support shitty companies with my dollars.

I’m just trying to be a little bit more of the person I want to be in what ways that I can manage.


This book changed my perspective. 

I recently finished The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh, and it is now firmly part of my life’s library.

Dolly talks about how we all aim to be good people, but sometimes, fall short of it.

I say I believe in sustainability, and yet my actions don’t always reflect that.

But, it’s not black and white.

I’m not a bad person when I ask FairPrice for a plastic bag.

We’re all good-ish people, stumbling our way towards being better.

The book is both encouraging and offers practical steps on how you can become the person you mean to be, and I 100%, extremely, highly, very much recommend it.

Disclaimer: the book depository link above has my referral ID in it. You can also download the audiobook for free via the NLB app.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to get posts in your inbox!

All fun, zero spam.