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Garbage Pickup on Oahu Shores: An Introduction to Worldschooling

Garbage Pickup on Oahu Shores: An Introduction to Worldschooling

garbage pickup in oahu
Plastic lid left when the tide receded

While the boys are only four and two, they are always eager helpers! We have been in Hawaii for two weeks now, and almost everyday we walk 100 yards down the beach with our outdoor toys, to a big sand pile to play. It is a great part of our family exercise as it is not just the kids that need it! I do too! We had a large storm over the weekend and depending on the tide, there are hundreds of broken up pieces of plastic littering the beach. After this particular storm, there was wood debris and an assortment of larger plastic items laying on the beach. While hunting for sea glass used to be the norm, in today’s world, that has been replaced with plastic pop bottles and shards of hard plastic on the world’s beautiful beaches, the items original intent, long broken up by the forces of the ocean.

You can read about reducing the use of plastic on your travels (and at home) 

Piles left from the tide include wood debris and trash
Piles left from the tide include wood debris and trash

In Vancouver, we sort our food waste into an organics bin; cans, plastic, glass, paper, cardboard and Styrofoam into the recycling bin; and actual garbage into the trash can (in our household this amounts to soiled diapers, dirty plastic wrap from food, broken toys, and other miscellaneous waste from around the house. If we were really diligent about sorting, the garbage would amount to about half a trash can a week at the most).

Hawaii now has a green bin for garden clippings, a blue bin for cans, bottles, cardboard and newspapers and a trash bin for trash. Trash is incinerated and produces power that is sold to Hawaiian Electric. About 8% of the electricity on Oahu, comes from the H-POWER plant

Plastic Bottles are often seen on the beach
Plastic Bottles are often seen on the beach

While driving home from Waikiki yesterday, my uncle and I talked about the floating island of plastic, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is made up of mostly small particles of plastic, chemical sludge and debris caught up in the current.

Treasure Found
Treasure Found

This gave me an idea. An idea about worldschooling.

Most traveling families talk of “world schooling” instead of traditional education, and it is a very fluid topic. Because of the ages of my boys, it is not a topic that I am in any way an expert. To me, it encompasses children learning from hands on activities that the locals partake in, to math activities derived from counting money to make a purchase at a local market. While some traditional school concepts still exist, most children learn practical skills and get to experience things that many other children will lean about from textbooks.

While I am not a world schooling expert, Here are a few posts to check out on the subject

Jessie from Wandering Educators on Worldschooling Tips

Alyson from World Travel Family on Worldschooling

Amy from WorldSchool Adventures on Worldschooling


So after I had this idea about garbage and worldschooling, this morning we picked up our garbage bag and headed back to our little sand pile. On the way, we picked up plastic jar lids, broken ropes, broken plastic shards, a discarded flip flop and styrofoam. While no exciting finds were made, the boys felt like treasure hunters, running from one piece of plastic to the next.

Oahu Trash Pickup in Progress
Oahu Trash Pickup in Progress

There are hundreds of plastic shards on this small stretch of beach, and we didn’t even come close to picking up half of them. Not even one percent. We collected some of the larger pieces, ones that would break into hundreds of smaller ones as the waves’ ferocity pulled them on and off the beach with the tides.

Garbage Cleanup Oahu Beach Carpe Diem OUR Way 5
Markus carrying the bag of Trash
Garbage Cleanup Oahu Carpe Diem OUR Way 3
Maths taking his turn
Garbage Pickup on Oahu
Our haul, better in the trash then on the beach

While they lost interest and preferred climbing in the sand after about 10 minutes, and only one small bag of trash made it off the beach and into the trash can, I hope that the lesson on what we can recycle and what happens when we do not put things in the trash will remain with them.

More Hawaii Travel Resources

Where you should start is the best time to visit Hawaii. I have put together some resources for your trip to Hawaii to help make the planning a little bit easier.

Should you rent a car in Hawaii?

First you need to decide whether you want to rent a car or not. Personally I prefer to rent a car from the airport and keep it during our stay. It allows the most amount of flexibility and is especially nice if you have young kids.

You can check prices on rental cars here.

What to Pack for Hawaii?

Packing for the beach is usually the easiest type of packing. But I have put together a few essentials that you do not want to forget on your trip to Hawaii. You can also click the link above to see my complete beach packing list post!

Sunscreen and Lip Balm – You can get sunscreen on every corner of Hawaii but it is a lot more expensive than bringing your own. Also if you have a preference on brand or have kids with sensitive skin, you will want to make sure you have the brand you like. Make sure if it is over 100mls that you put it in your checked luggage. Also make sure you pack reef safe sunscreen! If you want a gret lip balm, I suggest this one available at Sephoa. You can also get it on Amazon here.

Flat Toiletries Bag – If you are like me, you have packed your suitcase perfectly, only to realize that your round toiletries bag is not going to fit. With this lay flat toiletries bag, you can easily stand up your suitcase and slide it on top! at only 2 inches wide, it will almost always fit, once your clothing settles. You can also get it on Amazon here.

Beach Blanket – This might sound frivolous, but if you have kids, especially younger ones, this blanket is perfect! It is big, light and folded up with a convenient carry handle. I called it my luxury item in my suitcase as it took up a fair bit of room but we used it every day and it beat those sand mats that you can buy at all of the stores.

Reusable Shopping Bag – Hawaii is way ahead of the rest of the United States when it comes to recycling. They do not have plastic bags and expect you to be prepared. You can bring your own small nylon bag from home or there are plenty of cute Hawaiian print ones to buy in Hawaii. Need another Hawaiian souvenir idea? This is one!

Baby Powder – One of the popular beach hacks is to pack some baby powder when you go to Hawaii (or any beach destination!). When you have sand all over your feet, apply some baby powder and the sand will quickly come off! Beats getting rubbing blisters from the sand between your toes! You can get convenient travel sized ones here

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    What a fantastic idea! These are truly important lessons to start teaching our children at a young age.

  2. I love the idea of including education into our travels. I find it an easy way to deepen concepts that might otherwise escape them. Cleaning up and taking care of our planet is always a great lesson.

  3. What an absolutely brilliant thing to do with your kids. Such a great life lesson. Love this.

  4. Katja says:

    This is such a good idea and a great way for children, even little ones, to understand that they too can make a difference.

  5. Julie says:

    What a great lesson to teach the kids! Thanks for keeping the beach clean and accessible for everyone.

  6. Sarah says:

    Exactly! One small bag of trash is better than trash on the beach, a fun and worthwhile activity:)