During this spring and summer, the frog band has been cleaning the environment one trash at a time. During our trash adventures, we’ve noticed that the litter that ends up in the environment includes all the bad habits we wouldn’t need in the first place; cigarette filters, fast food wrappers, soda cans, candy wrappers, etc.
Why does all this trash end up in the environment? For example, studies reveal that people don’t see cigarette filters as litter. Some smokers believe that one little cigarette filter won't cause any harm, but cigarette filters are the top plastic polluters, with an estimated two-thirds of the trillions of filters used each year tossed into the environment. Because they contain plastic, they will not biodegrade in the same way as organic material. Instead, they break into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually being classed as microplastics. It can take 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette filter to break down into microplastics. Furthermore, used cigarette filters are full of toxins, which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come into contact with them. As they say, ”little strokes fell great oaks.”
”Cigarette filters are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate. When tossed into the environment, they dump not only that plastic, but also the nicotine, heavy metals, and many other chemicals they’ve absorbed into the surrounding environment.” - National Geography
Determined to do actions, we all have taken our sanitary gloves, a few trash bags, comfy shoes, and headed off to adventures. Adventure is described as ”an exciting experience that is typically bold, sometimes risky, undertaking” and these trips have been exactly as described.
"The disheartening fact that I cannot get my head around is that litter is everywhere, even in places with trash cans in line-of-sight range. Are people seriously that lazy, that they make a conscious decision to throw their garbage on the streets instead of taking a few steps to ensure their waste made it to the trash can or recycling bin? It is a responsibility to recycle what you buy.”- Elsa
Elsa explains how she saw fast-food wrappings one after another. Soda cans of all tastes and sizes. Tens, if not even hundreds, of cigarette butts and packs. Brands and slogans that haven’t existed for ages. Her trash bags were already full, and she had only walked about 200 meters in the forest by a busy road.
When Ama has taken her trash adventures this spring and summer, she hasn't needed to go far from her house door to see takeaway coffee cups, soda mugs and unfamiliar pieces of plastic. In her nearest forest, there is a cute wooden bench and beside it lies dozens of cigarette buts. The most surprising type of litter has however been tissues. Everywhere she goes, she sees tissues on the paths, hidden in the holes of trees, or the bushes. No matter how often she picks them up, more tissues appear.
Essi thinks it is very sad that people throw their trash into nature, but states that on the bright side, in their neighbourhood there wasn’t much litter. Despite the positively small amount of garbage in her surroundings, Essi defines trash walking to be a fun activity and a great way to make good for you and nature. The whole frog band can relate because we don’t only create activewear that makes people feel good but do concrete positive actions for our environment while wearing our comfortable activewear.
In Ama's home forest, there is also a beautiful old-fashioned field full of wildflowers and bumblebees. There is even a small, and unfortunately extremely dry, bond that was full of frogs in the spring. It’s a wonderful place to let Freya, a.k.a. Népra’s office dog, to run freely, and many people come and spend time with their children there too. Not only once there have been some party people lighting up fires and leaving their glass bottles broken behind. Pieces of glass make her the angriest as they can be very dangerous for children and our animal friends.
While it is devastating to see how much litter, and what kind of litter, people decide to throw away in the environment, it is also beautiful to see how nature tries to adapt with human nature. Elsa found an old glass bottle with a plant growing inside. Nature grows and evolves, and it's time for us people to do the same. Elsa went exploring nature, but later on, she realized that it was a trip to human nature.
Essi noticed something positive about trash adventures too. While focusing on litter, you can easily walk long distances. Even if you don’t feel like being active at first, seeing litter and picking it up, you kind of become hacked and want to search for more.
For us, plogging is an adventure, a treasure hunt. While it feels like a competition of collecting the most litter, it’s also devastating to see how much litter, and what kind of litter, people throw away in the environment. Once you try plogging, there is no turning back. It changes your perspective of litter, human cravings, and the cost of convenience. But don’t despair, take a trash bag with you wherever you go and adventures await!
For us, it is hard to imagine what people think when they drink their take-away coffees, lit their cigarettes, eat their candy bars, and then throw their trash in nature. What do they think will happen to the garbage? Our best guess is they think nothing at all and it’s a matter of unconscious habit.
With this #nepragoesplogging challenge, we hope to create awareness of this matter. No type of litter belongs to nature, and it doesn’t take much effort to carry your trash with you and dispose of it appropriately.
Even when we take a walk or go for a run, it doesn’t require much extra effort to carry a bag and a pair of gloves with us and pick trash we see on the way. It’s a quite simple good thing, a small act of kindness, we can all do for nature in our surroundings.
This summer, we challenge you to trash walk!
Any time you go outdoors, take a garbage bag and a pair of gloves with you. You can even start as small as picking up one piece of trash and put it in the garbage bin. Explore how it makes you feel.
It doesn’t matter how you do it but make sure you take a photo or video clip, post it on Instagram or Instagram Story under #wearnepra #nepragoesplogging and tag @wearnepra to your photo.
Take a trash bag and a pair of gloves
Go out for a walk and pick up the trash you see
Post your content on Instagram with hashtags #wearnepra #nepragoesplogging and tag @wearnepra to participate in the contest
Feel good, you did a great job!
By the end of July, we will draw 5 winners, who can choose their favorite recycled Népra item for free. There is no limit on how many times you post a photo or video. We would the more often the better as you will be an inspiration to your community and motivate them to reduce litter in nature too.
Ama, Essi & Elsa
National Geographic: Cigarette butts are toxic plastic pollution. Should they be banned? (Includes a cool video!)
Stumppi: Maailman yleisin roska on ympäristömyrkky.