Not just any old rubbish…

Every year I try to be a good girl during the Lent period. Well, no, I try to do without something I like just to see if I can – to see whether my liking for something is mainly habit or not. No religious subtext, although I’m sure my having gone to a Catholic school has something to do with my annual Lent exercises in small-scale self-denial. This year I thought I’d try something different: not just deny myself something (chocolate, fizzy drinks and online shopping) but to do something positive. What would I do? It didn’t require much thought – I walk the dogs on my local small wooded hill, and while the amount of rubbish on there could be worse, it has always got on my nerves. So, this year’s Lent challenge is: pick litter on Kilvey Hill. And what a journey it’s proving to be… Not only have I found lots of drinks cans, plastic fizzy drinks/water bottles & crisps packets, but I actually found a tenner, a perfectly good jacket in my size (finders – keepers!) & a discarded high viz jacket. The latter wasn’t in perfect condition, but I thought I can upcycle it into something really useful: a bag to collect all the rubbish that I’m carting down from the hill.

I’ve made bags before (see my post on making the Wendy bag) & this one is based on the same design.

photo 2


I cut off the top bit of the jacket (along with the sleeves), & then cut out the front zip & sewed a seam down where the zip used to be. This means I can still use the jacket’s three pockets (one with a handy velcro fastening) if I want to – maybe if I find more ca$h! I added short handles (made from one of the sleeves) & two D-rings two which I attached a bag strap I had lying about. I wear the bag like a messenger bag across the shoulders, but I can carry it by its shorter handles when I’m actually collecting litter.

photo 4

Deri has to photobomb every picture… 🙂

And there we are: this is me halfway up the hill & the bag is already full. By the way, I don’t chuck the rubbish straight in the bag – some of it is a bit yucky. I have a plastic bag in my nice high viz bag & put the cans, plastic & the astonishing number of socks (!) I find into that.

And here’s this week’s collection.

photo 5


By the time Easter comes around, I’ll have collected quite a bit. Not all the rubbish on Kilvey Hill – the more I look, the more stuff I find, & I won’t be able to remove all the fly-tipped stuff for one. But it’ll make a difference, I hope. And just like the year when I went vegan ‘just for Lent’, I might just continue with the litter picking. I’ve just signed up to be a Keep Wales Tidy Litter Champion. Let’s see where this journey is going to take me. One thing seems clear – my high viz rubbish bag-made-from-rubbish – will be coming with me!




About alycevr

Academic, translator & maker of things
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