Explore with Purpose: Cleaning up Germany

Planet Patrol is a community-led movement sitting at the intersection of environment and wellbeing. Its mission is to ignite and drive behavioural, industrial and political change through community action and citizen science, exploring natural places whilst cleaning up and protecting our planet and wildlife for the future.

Since 2006, Planet Patrol has operated 300+ clean ups worldwide, removing 400+ tonnes of litter from nature and recording 492,000+ pieces of litter (by end of 2023) across 83 countries in their free mobile app. Litter – including plastics, metals, glass etc – directly impacts marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Impacts include wildlife fatalities, altered population dynamics, ecosystem malfunctioning and reduced economic value.
‘Explore with Purpose’ supports the ambition to grow Planet Patrol internationally, creating the largest and most inclusive community movement tackling litter Europe-wide. This project brings Planet Patrol’s successful model developed in the UK to Germany, operating free adventure-based activities with litter picking to mobilise communities, encouraging people to get active, whilst simultaneously protecting nature from the harmful effects of litter. The project will recruit and train six paddleboarding and canoeing reps, equipping them with the tools, resources and equipment necessary to run 18 clean-up sessions in 2021. This will be paired with a launch activation in April 2021 and wider marketing and promotion to increase awareness, to both encourage participation in clean-ups and wider usage of the Planet Patrol app to track litter.

The Update

Planet Patrol were awarded a North Face Explore Fund grant to deliver the ‘Explore with Purpose’ project. The project started on 9/11/2020. Covid restrictions and extreme weather events affected the timings of some activities but the project was completed, with all objectives achieved, on 22/6/2022.

During the course of the project, Planet Patrol built a network of reps across key locations in Germany, training and equipping five qualified reps with the tools, resources and equipment necessary to run paddleboarding clean up sessions under Planet Patrol’s guidelines.

Eighteen clean ups were delivered to the public across the five locations – Hamburg, Dresden, Esslingen, Bremen and Hannover – in August, September 2021 and April and June 2022, cleaning 27km of habitat and tracking 6,081 pieces of litter in the Planet Patrol app.

The Planet Patrol app has been translated into German during the project, increasing accessibility and ease of use. 774 people used the Planet Patrol app and litter map in Germany over the project period.   A table of the top ten types of litter found during clean ups included cigarette butts in top spot, followed by metal bottle caps and plastic packaging.

Following the completion of this project, Planet Patrol have already run addition clean ups in Germany and they aim to continue running regular clean ups with the established network of reps.

Image: Planet Patrol in action