When i was growing up in primary school, it was common to see children in the school yard during recess and lunch picking up litter. If you had acted out a little in class, spoke too much, or been too cheeky, then litter duty was the teachers weapon to bring you back in line.
Armed with a plastic bag, you could not enjoy what was left of your break until you had returned with it full. So kids raced around to the litter hotspots to fill that bag as quick as you could. Most of the time that bag was difficult to fill, so sometimes if you could get away with it, you would have to sneak some items out of the bin or you would miss out on some play time with your mates.
I have heard these days, that litter duty has been banned from schools, as it is deemed ‘degrading’ to the student picking up rubbish. I find that very sad, as it was during these litter picking up moments, that I began to develop my knowledge and understanding of waste and my understanding of litter as an issue. I found the process of taking a messy and unclean area and cleaning it up as strangely rewarding, relaxing and almost enjoyable.
It was during this time, that the entrepreneur in me first emerged, where I took this enjoyment of picking up litter and offered my litter picking up services to the naughty kids in exchange for some money to spend on lollies in the canteen.
Who knew that 30 years on, I would still be trying to turn my passion for the environment and litter reduction into a career? That my friends, is how it all began.