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Millie showing the Double Helix Sustainability Squad some of the litter she has found

Time for a tidy! Litter in the environment is not only unsightly but can also harm wildlife. Animals can accidentally eat plastic bags or get caught by fishing lines.

Millie from the Double Helix Sustainability Squad has been doing all she can to protect her home from litter pollution. Armed with tongs and a bucket, Millie goes out for litter hunts at her local beaches. She also brings friends along to help protect her beautiful coastlines in Western Australia.

“Every piece of rubbish you pick up, whether it’s a plastic bag, a microplastic, or a straw, could save an animal’s life,” Millie says.

In this activity, you can join Millie’s litter hunts in your own area.

Safety: outdoor hazard iconYou will be outdoors for this activity. Remember to be sun smart and watch out for hazards in your surroundings. Bring an adult to help supervise you and any other friends.

You will need

  • Tongs
  • Gloves
  • Bucket or a bag
  • A copy of the litter scavenger hunt checklist (optional*)
  • Camera (optional)

*You can design your own scavenger hunt with your friends if you like!

What to do

Bring an adult with you on this litter scavenger hunt. Together, discuss where the scavenger hunt should take place, and any safety precautions you need to take before going. You could bring a few friends along. You might like to do this at a local park, forest reserve or even at school.

  1. Choose a location for the scavenger hunt with an adult.
  2. Person outside in a garden putting on rubber gloves.Put on your gloves and grab your tongs and bucket or bag.
  3. Person picking up rubbish with tongs.Collect as much rubbish as you can, or until your selected area looks clean.
  4. Person sorting rubbish.What have you found? Sort your litter into recyclables and non-recyclables and put them in the correct bins.
  5. Person washing hands.Remember to wash your hands!

Wrapping up

After this activity, you might like to do another scavenger hunt at a different location. You can compare your observations. Snap a few photos or write down what you found . This will help you identify what is the same or different about the litter in these places. Then, you can work out ways you and your community can prevent litter entering the environment.

This is what Millie has done with her friends since 2020, and she has seen changes in the types of litter she found on her local beaches. Since the Western Australia government banned plastic straws, Millie didn’t see as many plastic straws as she used to! You can join Millie and do the litter scavenger hunt multiple times and see what you find.

To follow Millie’s story with the Double Helix Sustainability Squad, sign up to Double Helix magazine.

One response

  1. Leisa Atkinson Avatar
    Leisa Atkinson

    This is a great idea. The students at Ryan Catholic College (Townsville) recently competed in the “Clean Up Cup” Scavenger Hunt for Clean Up Australia Day.
    Students from yr 5 – 12 collected litter around the school with an emphasis on the litter most common in schools (popper/fruit box straws, paper etc). We even had “Golden Ticket” litter hidden for extra points. The students really engaged with the activity and got the message of sustainability and protecting the Reef from our run-off.

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