With many people looking for ways to reduce plastic pollution, one dog owner is calling on others to do their bit and pick up some plastic whilst out on their normal dog walk.
Primary school teacher Marion Montgomery of Stonehaven, was inspired by her eco-conscious dogs who enjoyed picking up plastic bottles on their walks and soon realised that if she and other dog walkers aimed to pick up some plastic waste, they could have a big impact.
In November 2018, Marion set up the Facebook group Paws on Plastic to spread the word and recruit other dog owners to pick up two pieces of plastic whilst out on a regular dog walk. Dog owners are encouraged to pick up items using a spare poo bag and take them home, putting into the recycling bin if possible and then saving the bag to use again. They are also asked to celebrate their efforts by posting a photo of their dog with the waste they’ve collected on the ‘Paws on Plastic’ Facebook page.
“The strength of Paws on Plastic is its simplicity”, says Marion. “Dog owners are already out there walking their dogs every day. We see the litter. We have a spare bag in our pocket and it just takes a second to pick up a couple of pieces. No extra time or effort is required yet if we all do our own wee bit with over 1,000 of us (we already have over 1,000 followers now on Facebook and Twitter) that’s over 2,000 pieces a day, although, as you will see from posts on Facebook, most people pick up more than two pieces each as it is rather addictive!
“With around nine million dogs in the UK alone, imagine the impact if we all did our own small bit.”
Marion old dog Murphy, who passed away in 2015, was the original inspiration for the Paws on Plastic and now Marion and her Labrador Paddy are on a mission to spread the word. Marion’s 13-year-old daughter Katie has even designed a logo to help raise awareness of the initiative, which has almost 900 followers on Facebook alone.
Angela Christie of Stonehaven, who owns Springer Spaniel Teigan, says, “Owning a plastic bottle collecting Springer Spaniel named Teigan, I’ve often ended up taking plastic home. So when my friend started the initiative of Paws on Plastic we were straight on board to make it something we do on all our walks. Such a simple but effective way to contribute to saving our environment.”