The prize drawing for this challenge is no longer open, but tackle it anyway to prevent marine debris and make the world a healthier, more beautiful place!


marine litter on coast

Plastic garbage washed up at Clipperton Rock Photo credit: Clifton Beard, Flickr

Whether left astray intentionally or accidentally, more than 6.7 thousand pieces of trash litter US roadways per mile on each side. That doesn’t include millions of square miles away from roadsides or any litter in any other country. Some of this rubbish stays where it landed, leaching chemicals into the soil and water around it or being ingested by local fauna. But much of it travels hundreds of miles by waterways, ultimately ending up in the ocean.

But that doesn’t mean it’s out of sight and out of mind. Once litter reaches the sea, not only does it do incredible harm to marine ecosystems and threaten already endangered species, it becomes infinitely more difficult to collect and dispose of properly. The problem of marine rubbish is monumental and only getting bigger with an estimated 250 million metric tons of plastic alone expected to reach the oceans by 2025.

LEARN MORE: The Ugly Journey of Our Trash   |   Spiraling Out of Control: Plastic Buildup in our Oceans

That’s why we’re excited to team up with Project AWARE Foundation, a registered non-profit organization mobilizing the world’s divers to protect our ocean planet – one dive at a time. Their #DebrisActivist divers see the detrimental effects of ocean trash first hand and are working to fight it, but you don’t have to be a scuba diver to take action with them! (Although if you are a diver, check out Dive Against Debris.) We all have the power no matter where we are to prevent marine debris at one of its primary sources: litter. 


Together with Project AWARE, we’re working toward #1TonLess marine debris with a 30-day challenge to pick up a little litter every day.


Litter collected on a 1.5 mile walk

Roughly 8 lbs. of litter collected on a 1.5 mile neighborhood walk: cardboard box, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspaper and flyers, fast food bags, styrofoam takeout containers and other junk

Picking up litter may sound daunting, but don’t worry–you don’t have to organize crews, pick up a huge bag of it in one go or walk for miles at a time, and you don’t have to participate every day for the 30 consecutive contest days to qualify. With just a pair of gloves and a few recyclable paper bags, here are some easy places to start:

  • Park at the far end of a parking lot and pick up litter in your aisle.
  • Pick up litter on your regular walking routes that you might otherwise walk by.
  • Watch for overflowing or uncovered receptacles, return any stray trash to the bin and close/tie it securely.
  • Break a large area down into smaller, manageable blocks. For example, if you want to clean up an entire park, start with just the playground.

If just 67 people each pick up one pound of litter per day, we will reach our #1TonLess goal in 30 days.

Be safe! If going for a walk or planning a longer cleanup, bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen. Wear gloves to protect your hands, and bring a small box to carry broken glass, rusty metal and other sharp objects. Do not pick up needles or other biohazard items unless you can do so with adequate protection.


Pick up litter as many days as possible between June 17 and July 17, 2015 at 11:55PM PST and dispose of it properly. Recycle and upcycle everything you can!



1. Snap a photo of what you collected.

2. Weigh it. Educated estimates are OK if you don’t have a scale handy–see our weight reference guide below.

3. Share the photo and how much you collected in weight on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #1TonLess and tagging Travel Well Magazine (@travelwellmag on Twitter and Instagram.) We’ll repost many of your entries!

On July 18, a winner will be drawn at random from qualifying entries and will be announced via the Travel Well Facebook page, so be sure to like the page and follow us there.



35 aluminum cans (12 oz./355 ml size) = 1 pound

45 water bottles (16.9 oz/500 ml size) = 1 pound

7 single-gallon jugs = 1 pound

17 soda bottles (20 oz./600 ml size) = 1 pound

8 2-liter soda bottles (68 oz./2000 ml size) = 1 pound

82 plastic grocery bags = 1 pound

3.5 pizza boxes (or equivalent amount of cardboard) = 1 pound

1/4 phone book (or equivalent amount of paper) = 1 pound

250 cigarette butts = 1 pound

24 styrofoam takeout containers = 1 pound

Note: The figures above used the average weight of each material, which will vary from product to product and country to country. This guide is to serve only as a reference to help you more accurately estimate your haul. We’re on the honor system here, so please be true and honest to yourself and your fellow challengers. 


Ocean-Inspired LUSH Travel Set

LUSH hand makes personal care products for both men and women that aren’t just good for us, they’re good for the planet. They use nothing but fresh, organic and ethically sourced ingredients to create bath, shower and styling products for the whole body that are never tested on animals. On top of that, many of their products come naked–no packaging required. The items that do require packaging, like their scrubs and sprays, are entirely recyclable–you can even return 5 empty pots to a LUSH store for a free face mask.

Many LUSH products embrace the sea for its health and beauty benefits, so we’ve put together some of our favorite ocean-inspired goodies into an awesome travel-friendly toiletry set:

  • Seanik Shampoo BarLUSH prize set
  • Sea Vegetable Soap Bar
  • Sea Spray
  • Life’s a Beach Body Scrub
  • Two travel tins


Why we love this set: The shampoo and soap bars pack perfectly into the travel tins saving you the hassle of liquid limitations through TSA security checkpoints. The 3 oz Sea Spray tosses into any bag easily for summer styling on the go that works great for any hair type, and Life’s a Beach body scrub brings the beach home with you for natural exfoliation.


Are you in?


Project AWARE logo

Visit Project AWARE for more on how you can protect our oceans:

Project AWARE on Facebook

Project AWARE on Twitter

Project AWARE on Instagram




2010 study by Keep America Beautiful

The Ugly Journey of Our Trash [Infographic]

Spiraling Out of Control: Plastic Buildup in our Oceans [Infographic]

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