Everyday Heroes #3
Paul Waye is a truly inspirational guy. He runs more than 4000km a year, picking up litter at the same time. We connected on Instagram where he is known as @wayeoflife and is renowned for his incredible Saturday Movie Posters, where he recreates a movie poster with a plogging theme. He's motivated and supported us (and so many other litter pickers around the world) throughout our Just1Bag2020 campaign, so we wanted to share his story.
Thank you so much, Paul, for agreeing to be interviewed. We know you as @wayeoflife, but can you tell everyone a bit more about yourself.
I live in the Netherlands with my wife, Karin, and two kids, Finley (18) and Maia (15). I met my wife in London (she is Dutch and I’m a Brit) and we moved to the Netherlands in 2000. I work as a Business/Data analyst in IT – still looking for a billionaire that will let me do this full time – know any?
Unfortunately not! :) How did you get started with litter picking?
My first social media plog was on Twitter in 2011, before the word was thought up. I love the word ‘plogging' - saying you are a ‘plogger’ is a lot easier than saying ‘I’m a runner and every now and then when I see a bit of litter I pick it up’ Ha Ha (ooooh, ten year anniversary coming up soon – woohoo).
Wow 10 years!! That's incredible. How did you get involved with Just1bag2020?
Oh gosh.. I can’t remember. This has been such a crazy year that I have trouble remembering what I did last week! I think someone told me about the hashtag.
We're so glad they did! You've done some brilliant reels and videos for us.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found?
Hmm… I would say check out @dumptreasures for weird stuff. My stuff is regular stuff. Although I did find a brand new pack of condoms the other day, completely sealed in the box and in a pharmacy bag. I gave them to my son (it was clearly an accidental drop by someone that had only just happened).
I'd love to have seen his face when you gave them to him! What’s your favourite thing or place to litter pick?
I can’t say I have a favourite, but I do have a love-hate relationship with hubcaps.
Eurgh. I can understand that one (although they'd fill up a bag pretty quickly)
Favourite place? Can I say that my favourite place is actually my favourite bin? (Bin 185 in Haarlem) – everyone should have a favourite bin!
What’s the best thing you've had someone say to you while you've been out litter picking?
Anything really. Any form of recognition is wonderful. A thank you, a car horn, a wave, any gesture makes me smile.
Has picking up litter led to any other changes in your day to day life? Or is there anything it’s given you pause to think about?
I don’t think so, which is a bit weird. But for me, the intent is to try and inspire others to make changes (oh dear.. that sounded so rehearsed haha.. but it is totally true!) What has litter picking taught you?
It gets heavier the further you take it! Nah, seriously.. it has helped reinforce the fact that we need to solve this problem together. Not just people, but companies, governments and people, all working together. If you could ban one piece of litter from the world what would it be?
Packaging that cannot be recycled or that is unnecessary. Yes, it is frustrating seeing all the trash on the ground, but there is still to much packaging that just cannot be recycled (or be biodegradable).
So true! There is just so much excessive packaging and waste in the world. Bit by bit we'll change it though - we have to!
Finally what would you say to anyone who’s yet to collect Just1Bag?
Do exactly that. Collect just 1 bag. 1 bag only. But think how it makes you feel. Hopefully you might inspire yourself to pick up a second one!
Thank you so much for all your brilliant answers, Paul.
You can follow Paul's story on instagram @wayeoflife where he's inspiring change through positivity and his website where he blogs about plogging, running and showcases his collection of plogging-themed Movie Posters.