You won't find recurring posts here, it's not what I do. But, if your curious about some background info, check it out!
Latest update: Sep 2020
My name is Joe and I'm just a dude with a paddle board...and yes, I haul trash out of our rivers. I’ve recently discovered a passion for litter picking WHILE stand-up paddling (or SUP, for short). It is something that I can do that has a direct impact on our environment.
Haul trash out of our waterways and raise awareness by sharing my finds with the world.
Being a native Floridian, I grew up in a small beach town on the Atlantic Ocean and have always loved the sense of freedom of being on the water. By spending so much time at the beach, or boating on rivers and lakes, I gained an appreciation for nature at a young age. This appreciation drew me to paddle boarding. It was something I could do from basically anywhere and didn't need anything but a board and a paddle to explore.
The Litter Picking
I can also attribute my comfort level with litter-picking to my childhood. While walking our dogs, my mom would challenge my sister and I to collect things for every letter of the alphabet (A-Advil package, B-Bottle cap, C-Can, D-Doritos bag, E-Earplug, F-Flyer, G-Golf ball, and so on). We never found an item for every letter, but it was fun and kept us entertained on the walk. More importantly, it alerted me to the presence of litter in our world. Ever since then, I’ve been keenly aware of just how much litter is on the ground and in the water.
I created SUP Garbage Man in May 2019 to bring together my interests of SUP and litter picking. It combines several aspects of who I am as a person and has become something I’ve decided to dedicate my time to (outside of my full time day job). I started by posting photos on social media of what I was finding. I had hoped my efforts would raise awareness of the extent of the trash problem and maybe inspire a few other folks to pick up trash too. Since starting SUP Garbage Man, I've received overwhelming support from followers, have been featured in a few online articles, local news stories, podcasts, and even got to meet France's Ambassador to the US at the Embassy of France! (Check out the "Featured Stories" page for more!) All of which have reaffirmed to me that my efforts are worthwhile and my message is being received.
I decided to incorporate SUP Garbage Man as a Virginia-based Nonprofit organization to enable me to work with local businesses in an official capacity. The 501(c)(3) designation opens doors for waiving disposal fees and establishing agreements, where possible. Additionally, by establishing the nonprofit, SUP Garbage Man is now able to accept donations and enable folks to support the cause. Further details are provided on the Donate page.
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to have a look around and don't be afraid to pick up the next piece of trash you find.
Proud part Werner Paddles Sustainability Team and their Healthy Waters initiative. The goal is simple, take responsibility to protect the places we paddle. Find out more at: https://wernerpaddles.com/about/healthy-waters
Proud ambassador for iRocker Paddle Boards to raise awareness and promote waterway stewardship.
As of November 30, 2021:
I've collected 3,410 cubic feet (95,546 L) of trash & recycling!
Here are some noteworthy items I've found since the beginning:
(quantity is in parentheses)
A vial of blood--yep, you read that right (1), bottle of canine COVID vaccine (1), medical boot (1), pregnancy test (1), IV bags (3), treasure chest...see pic above (1), bottles of pills (4), a pair of plastic breasts (1), fire hoses (2), a drone (1), bag of fish fillets (1), rifle case (1), storage bin with tools (1)
Other Notable Finds
Aquarium rock (1), 5-gallon water cooler jugs (2), BBQ grill (1), birdhouse (1), boat fenders/bumpers (19), boogie board (2), full bottles of food (6+), buckets (59), cat carrier (1), construction barrels (14), coolers (7+), cowboy hat (1), dining room chairs (2), chunks of floating dock (5), door from chicken coop (1), exercise balls (2), fire extinguishers (4), folding table-large (1), fridge door (1), garden hose (1), gas cans (7), hard hats (6), kegs (2), life jackets (13), milk crates (11), mop buckets (2), oil drain pans (2), plastic barrels (22), roll of plastic fencing (3), picnic table support leg (1), pop-up canopy frame (1), plunger (1), propane tanks-large (3), rat poison traps (8), river inner tubes (2), skateboard (1), sailboat rudder (1), shopping carts (2), SodaStream CO2 container (1), snow shovel (1), stop sign (1), stroller frame (1), stuffed animals (14), enormous styrofoam logs (3), suitcase (large roller) (1), tarps (2), tires (39), toboggan (2), toddler playground components (3), toilet parts (seat and 3 of the floating mechanisms from the tank), traffic cones (5), trash cans (18), undergarments (4+), and wheelbarrows (3).
I've also found countless:
Containers of used motor oil, small camping propane tanks, plastic lawn furniture, toys, sports balls (football, basketball, tennis balls, street hockey balls, kickballs, etc), and plenty of packing material.
This is all in addition to the "normal" trash and plastic bottles/bags.
It is baffling how some of these things end up in the river. Stay tuned on Instagram or Facebook to see what comes next...