Friday, December 04, 2009


I read a newspaper article recently about a man who lost a lot of weight by using a grabber tool to pick up trash on his walks. He ended up taking very long walks. I decided this might be a good way for me to get some exercise, because when I exercise, it has to have a purpose - I just can't do monotonous repetitive movements on workout machines.

So I bought a reacher/grabber tool [similar to this] from Home Depot today ($21 after tax) and took my dog for a walk along a road near my house. I took a kitchen sized trash bag along, and within 10 minutes, I needed another bag. If you could see the sheer volume of the stuff, you would be shocked. The bag was so heavy, I had to hoist it over my shoulder to walk home with it.

What I found:

Many Styrofoam cups, lids, and straws
Cigarette butts
Fast food paper cups (Mostly Burger King, some McDonald's, 1 Starbucks)
1 tube of lip gloss
Bojangles chicken box (yes, this is the south!)
Paper and styrofoam plates
Clear plastic cake containers
Clear plastic 8 oz cups with lids
Many types of plastic bottles
Many types of aluminum cans

It looks like people just hurl their trash out the window as they take the curve. The aluminum can that irritated me was the one for an energy drink. I ask you - - If you drink an energy drink, wouldn't it give you enough energy to hang onto the can until you got to a trash can?

It was an interesting exercise - and that's what it was mainly - exercise. I need to exercise but it needs to have a purpose. I can't walk just to walk, if you know what I mean. So I'm not posting about this to get praised that I picked up trash. I needed to walk and walk the dog anyway.

I think that maybe, once people see trash in an area, then people don't feel bad about throwing their trash on top of it. It looks like "everyone does it."

I'm going to get my 6-year-old son going with the grabber stick tomorrow. He'll enjoy picking out the cans and plastic bottles from the bag to put them into our recycling bin. What seems like work to adults can be really fun to a kid with a grabber.

(If you want to get a pick-up tool, you can find the Unger "Nifty Nabber' or "Pik-Stik" tool in the garden tool department by the rakes. It's really easy to pick up stuff without bending, and you don't have to touch it with your hands.)

You don't have to do this on a busy roadway can do this in your own neighborhood. The surprised and pleased looks from the neighbors are pretty motivating.

All in all, we walked about forty minutes. I usually only walk ten.


Susan said...

Great idea! I totally get what you mean about exercise having to have a purpose. I mean I know exercise is a purpose - getting healthy and all that - but I don't feel productive walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. Thanks for the food for thought!

stranded in illinois said...

What a good idea ! I am trying to think of whom I can give this too for Christmas .....

Darla Dixon, Artist said...

It is a useful little tool for just about anybody. We found we could even pick up a roofing nail with it...that's pretty precise! Kids have a lot of fun with it too. You can buy toy versions of it, but I think it would be more useful to get the regular version, then when the kids are tired of it, you can use it for just about anything - reaching behind the clothes dryer or between cabinets for know, that stray sock that you can never reach? :)

On the 2nd day of picking up, we found a ton of beer cans and bottles. Also found Georgia lottery tickets. Apparently they go hand in hand, literally.


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