2018: Some stuff that happened

2018 has been our most successful year by miles. Membership has grown again and now stands at over 200, including members in England, Scotland, Wales, all parts of Ireland and Australia! Through Twitter we have been in touch with thousands of other people and organisations and we’ve given out loads of prizes. More on this in a second…

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If we were to review the year, the overall highlight would surely be Pick the Path. 55 runners joined us in July to run the length of the South West Coast Path. We picked up about 90 bags of rubbish and left the path much cleaner than we’d found it. We made loads of friends, showed people that we can actually make a difference, gained lots of publicity for our message and raised our profile nationally. Ultimately that’s what it’s all about: Stopping people dropping rubbish (by getting our message out there), and picking it up (by getting out there and picking it up!)

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I won’t launch into a full review of everything we’ve done this year, but I am really happy with the progress we’ve made. This year we’ve picked up rubbish from a waterbike, taken our robotic bin to see local running groups, had our banner up at Wasdale Fell Race, been interviewed and featured in newspapers, magazines and on the radio, and even been asked by Lucozade to help redesign their packaging.

As I said earlier we are continuing to grow and involve more and more people. It has been great to see lots of other organisations pop up this year too, particularly local plogging groups all over the UK and further afield. It seems to me that the world is becoming increasingly aware of the problems caused by human waste (in the litter sense, not the other sense. Although occasionally… but that’s another story!) which is fantastic.

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Plogging with GoodGym

There has even been some support from Government, for example yesterday when Michael Gove launched the Resources and Waste strategy. This is a step in the right direction, including an aim to avoid the “offshoring” of waste – where waste is sold for disposal and all tracability and accountability disappear, and the continuation of the Government ambition to bring in a deposit return scheme – though the timescale (2023) of this is disappointing. The strategy also includes a crucial target on the ownership of waste, shifting it towards the producer rather than the consumer. This has implications for companies who produce large amounts of unrecyclable packaging and has the potential to make a big difference in the long run. Our big brothers (as we like to think of them) Surfers against Sewage have read all the government proposals in detail and written more details on their thoughts here.

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Finally, to round off what has been a very positive year, we’d like to thank all our existing and new members, everyone to took part in PTP or did their own litter-picking run, everyone who has taken part in #BeABinner, and everyone who has supported us and talked about us this year, particularly Inov8, Silva, Accelerate, Ski Club GB, Trail running magazine, Damo Hall, Abichal at UltrarunningWorld, The Sheffield Star, The Irish Times, BBC Radio Sheffield, Leeds, Cornwall and Devon (and others at the BBC who we will hopefully hear more from in the new year…), Dave Cornthwaite and the Waterbike crew, and all the other people I’ve forgotten!

My thanks as ever to the hero that is Charlie for being all over Pick the Path, and to Debbie for keeping Charlie under control and sorting out an amazing village hall finale.

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Charlie and some happy Path-pickers

Next year looks great already… There are lots of events in the pipeline, including Pick the Path 2, which is likely to be on the Cotswold Way. Let us know if you’re interested, more details to follow! Closer to home we’ll be talking to Wadsley Scouts and heading out for a litterpick around Bradfield in early January, and now that the white stuff has started to fall we’re launching another round of #BeABinner.

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If you want to win one of these awesome Ortovox Powder Rider backpacks donated by Ski Club GB, just pick up some rubbish, tweet us a photo (@RunnersVRubbish) with hasthag #BeABinner. As last time it’s the best that wins, so we’re rewarding dedication, commitment and effort. This competition will run over the Christmas / New Year period so all those long walks with the family are your perfect opportunity! One more tip – involving the younger generation is likely to be judged positively.

So that’s that, 2018 isn’t over yet but it’s been great. There’s still loads to do and we’re still doing it. Thanks for being with us. Happy Christmas and avoid the Advocat.

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