Since challenging herself to pick up trash on her daily walks, Samantha Millette has filled a bag every day.
In 30 days, the Timmins woman collected 940 single-use beverage containers, mostly Tim Hortons cups and plastic water bottles.
This week she took to social media to inspire other people to take on the litter pick up challenge.
"I’d like to challenge everyone reading this to pick up a few pieces of litter each day, for the next 30 days," she wrote on Facebook. "Simply add a bag and glove to your daily walk and pick up litter when you see it. Forget about feeling weird and just do it. One bag on its own may not seem like a big deal, but if everyone took the time to collect one bag, it would make a huge difference"
Cleaning up the community isn't new to Millette.
In past years in the spring, she would go to different areas and fill a garbage bag.
With a baby at home, she didn't have time to go out for a couple of hours to clean up.
Instead, she decided to bring a grocery bag to fill during her daily walk.
“I pretty much do the same neighbourhood every day…within a kilometre of my house, basically. And I could walk the same streets every day and find more beverage containers the next day,” she said.
Millette started picking up trash in April.
Living in an area with a number of schools, she noted that since school has been out there is less garbage on the ground.
“I’m not blaming it on the kids because I know adults pollute too,” she said.
“When school went out there was a lot less, but I’m still picking up a garbage bag every day.”
There’s a reason Millette is focusing on beverage containers.
As a consultant in the waste and recycling field she has researched deposit return programs.
While you can return alcohol containers and get the deposit back in the province, the incentive ends there.
“Ontario’s one of the only provinces that doesn’t have that for other containers, so that was a big motivation behind just focusing on that cause I want to raise awareness,” she said.
She also hopes it inspires people to prevent waste.
She suggests simple steps like not buying bottled water or bringing a reusable cup to the store.
“In Timmins we have clean tap water, so there’s no reason if you have tap water where you should really need to buy those bottles,” she said.
“Just buying reusable or bringing your reusable coffee cups to Tim Hortons, that would cut those two biggest items that I pick up right there.”
The litter pick up challenge has been gaining traction and her post has about 150 shares so far.
Family and friends have even been picking up trash and sharing the results online.
“If one person does it then I’ve achieved something,” she said.
Here is Millette's original post issuing the challenge, complete with photos from her 30 days of cleaning up: