It all started on a bike ride. We kept seeing garden gloves along the side of the road. In fact, we had seen the gloves lying there for weeks and finally decided to pick them up. One by one, over the course of about 2 weeks, we had managed to collect 20 pairs!
We’re an island of avid gardeners, farmers, and a world-famous garden tour called “Bainbridge in Bloom.” Twelve months of gardening weather here on Puget Sound has afforded us 4 seasons of dirt digging. The problem is that the gardeners’ (or perhaps it’s the hired landscapers’) gloves too often end up along the sides of the roads, having fallen from the backs of landscaper’s trucks, farmers’ tractors, or islander’s cars. Being a food-grower myself, I couldn’t just let those gloves rot in the ditches.
My children and I have been collecting them: pulling to the side of the road, jumping out of the car, jumping back in, celebrating, for a year now and have 45 pairs plus about 50 singles ready for a mate. Do you have a single garden or work glove awaiting a partner? Don’t throw it out! Send it to us so we can marry it to one we have here because their next life is going to be GOOD.
All pairs of gloves we reunite will go to Kathmandu to protect the hands of the rag pickers there. Life as a rag picker is tough, really tough, and many are children in their pre-teens. These kids, and plenty of adults, make a living picking through other people’s trash to compile enough polyethylene plastic or PET plastic bottles to send to India for recycling. It’s a decent living, but the conditions are among the worst on the planet. We want to help by giving them the garden gloves we’ve found on our streets and in your garden sheds.
My children and I made a movie about the rag pickers in Kathmandu. If you have a few minutes, this film short will give you a brief look into the work they do:
Most rag pickers have no gloves at all. They pick bare-handed through broken glass and human excrement to find their quarry, and the best protection they can have, in my humble estimation, is for their hands (of course it doesn’t hurt to have a face mask, too.) We’ve seen some rag pickers with just one glove, as that’s all they have.
In August, we’ll be headed to Nepal again, to give gloves to Kathmandu’s rag pickers to aid in protecting them from the unsanitary conditions in which they work daily. Over two hundred rag pickers work at the city’s dump some 50 miles from Kathmandu. But countless children pick plastics from the Bagmati River as well as the streets of Kathmandu, and having a glove or two could save a child from infection, disease, and dysentery which comes with the territory.
Want to help us protect the rag pickers, those moving Kathmandu’s trash backwards into new goods, to help reduce the mountains of garbage in the foothills of the Himalaya? There are 3 things you can do to help:
1) Use our Trash Backwards app and indicate when you’ve done something good. By clicking the “I Did It” button on any individual solution, you show us that you’ve changed your behavior to help reduce waste. These simple clicks that show what you’ve done to reduce, reuse, and recycle provide us with data to indicate whether a social movement like ours that educates through social media can make a difference. Every “I Did It” click means we can do some good, too. It’s a one-for-one correlation between your action at home/in the office and our action worldwide. For every “I Did It” click in our app, we’ll do our own good: We’ll hand out a pair of gloves to a rag picker, we’ll remove batteries from a water source in a village, we’ll collect plastics from rivers and shorelines, we’ll conduct a village waste audit. Every action you do enables us to do our greater good and ultimately find the support to do even more! So, please visit us at TrashBackwards.com and find some solutions to our global waste that you can undo in your own small scale, then hit the “I Did It” button and we’ll do the same. The more you do, the more we’ll do in return.
2) Send us your odd (or pairs of) garden gloves. We’ll likely have a match and can then get them into the hands of someone in need. Please know that the conditions are deplorable for a rag picker. Gloves could save someone from infection and truly make a difference. Does one glove have a hole in the thumb but the other is fine? Send us the good one!
Garden Glove Love
6027 NE Baker Hill Road
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
3) Simply help fund our efforts to improve the lives of Kathmandu’s rag pickers and kids in higher villages. You can do so by donating much needed funds to the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation so we can get our duffel bags of gloves (we donate shoes and books too) over to Nepal and remove toxic waste from the highest watersheds in the world while also helping to increase literacy in local villages. As little as $20 can go such a long way in Nepal. We’ve been bringing children’s books by porter, yak, horse, and donkey up to the highest villages in the Himalaya for 7 years now, and have opened 7 children’s libraries called The Magic Yeti Libraries. We bring books up and toxics down. Our target this summer is to remove batteries, CFL light bulbs, and plastics from the rivers, streams, irrigation ditches and water supply of villages between 9,000 and 14,000 feet. We’ll get these toxic materials out of the pristine waters and bring them down to a municipal organization that can dispose of them responsibly. We all live downstream of these waters, but for those who live in the villages nearby, the battery and plastics-laden streams need to be cleaned up as soon as possible.
Garden Glove Love was inspired by England’s Glove Love campaign, a nationwide movement to rescue single gloves and give them a new life on the hands of eager people wanting to help reduce our overall impact on the environment.
Start today with your efforts to reduce your own impact on our planet by doing some good with the stuff you already have in your life. Reduce, reuse, re-gift, repair, and rethink your material assets as you use our Trash Backwards web app and you’ll inevitably help others and our planet, too.
19 thoughts on “Garden Glove Love”
Another fantastic scheme! You want to get in touch with Tom Hanks, he’s been displaying photos of discarded/lost single gloves on his What’s App and Twitter pages for ages. Not sure if he actually collects them, but he might now!
Will definitely get in touch with him! There’s something disturbing about all these single gloves that have lost their mate. We’d like to help them find their match quickly so they can be put to use!
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What about single socks cos we have loads?!
LOL! Yes! Don’t get me started. I have a post coming up soon about our refusal to throw away those single socks and the game we play with the kids in hopes we eventually find the matches to the singles. Socks are much-needed in rural Nepal, as the socks available in the markets there are cheap Chinese products that only last a few weeks. Whenever our friends from Nepal come to visit, we notice socks are one thing they love to purchase to bring home. We could start a project to match all socks that disappear into the sock-o-sphere and…..hmm, never mind.
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My husband never throws away single socks, it would be great to find a good home for them. Would you be able to take them along with any gloves we find? Or is that a scheme too far?
Y’know, it’s worth a try. When I write my post about socks, I’ll encourage people to try to match their singles with neighbors’ singles (through their Buy Nothing sharing groups) and then we can have people send in their unmatched singles to us so we can work to pair them and put them in our duffels to Nepal. Every little bit helps.
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We’re in the UK, would there be anyone nearer to us, even within Europe where postage costs wouldn’t be as high and parcels wouldn’t take as long to reach there, who would be able to take possession of anything we want to send?
When we get closer to departing for Nepal (which will be in August), I’ll let you know. We may have a cameraman joining us from the UK for our film project we’re doing on our caves research there.
It’s a date!
Reblogged this on pearsnotparsnipsdotcom and commented:
This is such a simple but potentially life-changing scheme: collect discarded/lost gardening gloves, pair them up and send to Nepal to help child rag pickers protect themselves from glass, excrement, chemicals, and infections. We should all get behind this: we’ll be searching the shed, the cupboard under the utility room sink and collecting from our family – it may take some time, we are spread over the country, but eventually we’ll parcel them up and send them off. Great idea!
I just wonder how this world would look like, when more parents would teach their children to care, act and protect our only Earth – like you! I truly love your passion, ideas and commitment! Thanks! Esther
And Finn: good work!;)
You’re too kind, Esther. We’re just doing the little things we dream up and they often feel like a bandaid on a much bigger problem. But it’s still worth asking questions, getting out there, and just doing whatever you can.
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that’s right. Every step counts.
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This is so great! We need more people like you in this world to help out and be resourceful with what we have (:
Thank you so much, Christine. It was all the kids’ idea. I’ve been enjoying your writings on your “Packageless” blog, lots to explore there, and I love the minimalist style you’ve chosen. Perfect.
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Kids are the greatest. And thank you!
Hi! I stumbled across your post about rescuing single gloves, as I am looking for something to do with the ones I’ve collected. Can you please let me know if you are still doing this project? I’d be happy to send you some gloves I search if mates! Thanks so much!
*gloves in search of mates —as it should read.