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How do we know we are travelling in the right direction? | Our 2021 Route Map

“It’s good to talk” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year or so. The way we all communicate has had to adapt during the pandemic, but the reasons why we communicate stay the same. The sense of togetherness that a natter over the fence with the neighbour, or a Zoom call to distant friends brings is part of what makes us human. The posh definition of Trash Free Trails is that we are a non-profit ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC). The real definition is that we are a group of human beings trying to make our world a slightly nicer place to spend our lives. “We” are you and many thousands of people who have picked up drinks cans and crisp packets, joined in our Autumn Litter Watch or collected data to feed into our ’State of Our Trails Report’. We are, and always will be, stronger together: we are the Trash Mob. There is immense value in just one person cleaning a trail, but that value is amplified exponentially as more of us get involved. To put it another way, we are greater than the sum of our parts. Together we are achieving amazing things, and we have plans to make a bigger impact than ever in 2021 and beyond. In the interests of talking, we want to share those with you now, and bring you along for the ride.

What are we doing and why?

First up, we are excited to share our Route Map. Think of it as part calendar, part statement of intent, part compass and part piece of art. At its heart, the Route Map is our way of sharing everything that we’d like to achieve this year – you’ll see some old favourites back again, like the Spring Trail Clean and Autumn Litter Watch and some new ways that you can continue to support Trash Free Trails. It also covers our wider work like the TrashMob Academy that we plan to roll out further in 2021. The Route Map goes a little deeper than being a simple diary though. It is also our way of holding ourselves to account. We said up there that we are trying to make our world a nicer place to live. It’s a very wholesome statement, but doesn’t mean much by itself. The Route Map illustrates exactly how all the activities will support our overarching mission:

To reduce plastic pollution on our trails and wild places by 75% by 2025 and (re)connect people with nature through purposeful adventure.

How we go about some of these activities will still be a little different to how we would ideally like to run them. For example, given the current situation, it would be inappropriate for us to organise big gatherings, so our Spring Trail Clean will once again focus on purposeful adventures to be undertaken solo and in small groups. And just as how in our personal lives we are communicating more through digital means, Trash Free Trails will keep talking with you too. In fact, it is so important to us, we are stepping up the way we converse.

Photo credit: Rich Baybutt

Join the conversation

First up, starting in March, we will be sharing a monthly newsletter. As well as the usual stuff, like, er news, this will be our chance to tell you a little more about our Trash Mob members and share a bit of inspiration from likeminded folks. It’s really important to us to be able to reach your inbox instead of getting lost in social media algorithms, so we’d love you to sign up below. It only takes a second. Promise.

We also want to share more of your stories, either on social media, or via blog posts like this. As we’ve already said, you are Trash Free Trails and your hard work is making the difference. Whether it is before and after photos, or stories of how you have inspired others to join the Trash Mob, let us know.


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The basics

It’s a busy year ahead and we are immensely proud to have your support in any way possible. We also know that for every person who will love studying all the details of our Route Map there are those that just want to know the basics. How can you best help us? Well, here’s the bullet point list:

  • Trail Clean (aka; litter pick!) - This is the foundation of what we do. Without removing trash from the trails and our wild places, we will fail at our mission. If you do nothing else but this, we and your local community will be eternally thankful.

  • Record & Report what you have collected. The more data we have, the better we understand the size of the task and the impact we are having.

  • Encourage others to join in. Tell your mates, share your good work on social media, chat to folk you bump into while you are trail cleaning. It all helps spread the word.

  • Join in with our events like the Spring Trail Clean or Autumn Litter Watch.

  • When it’s safe and legal to do so, organise your own local trail clean and get as many people involved as possible.

  • Follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter so you can see the great work that other Trash Mob members are doing.

Thank you!

Finally, thank you for continuing to support us. We really do appreciate it and we love seeing our community grow. We really are making the world a better place, one purposeful adventure at a time. Thank you to our annual partners for their incredible collaborative support and friendship:

1 Comment

Don, this is such wonderful work, i am truly inspired. Is your data collection effort based solely on trails from the uk?

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