Meet The Planet People Working Hard To Pick Up Mother Earth04/12/2023 06:17PM ● By KAREN CASSIDY
Maybe you’ve thought about picking up the litter yourself, but unfortunately you didn’t have a trash bag on you or didn’t want to get your hands dirty at that moment. That’s where Planet People comes in. Their goal is to pick up litter... and they have created the perfect collection system for everyone.
WHAT IS PLANET PEOPLE?
Planet People is a non-profit organization run by everyday earth-lovers who pick up litter on streets, in parks, on beaches—well, everywhere! Their goal is not only to pick up litter, but to in- spire the next generation to pick up litter as well.
Planet People was born while founder Ken Spencer was taking a walk along Nauset Beach. He loved walks in nature but hated seeing all the litter strewn about so he decided to do something about it.
“I decided to create Planet People because I thought maybe I could gather people who like to take simple steps together; pick up trash when they walk, switch from plastic where possible, do some composting,” said Ken. “I wanted to celebrate the little things and share things I was finally learning in my life.”
The goal of Planet People is to provide the supplies and the motivation needed to get people out and about collecting litter. Ken designed a user-friendly litter collection system called a Planet Pack to help the mission.
Through their kickstarter campaign, Planet People raised enough money to make their first 1000 Planet Packs which they use, sell and donate to educational programs for trash collection. The organization is 100% volunteer and now a tax exempt 501(c) (3) charity. It donates Planet Packs to preschool teachers, elementary schools, libraries, youth programs, and willing earth stewards. Folks who don’t need a donation can purchase Packs and donate to pay it forward at www.planetpeople.org.
What are planet Packs? Planet Packs are open-top cylindrical backpacks, designed to be safe, easy and fun to use. The pack is light and strong, about 2lbs, and sits comfortably on your back.
The back barrier is made from recycled plastics and is contoured to the human form and protects the wearer from anything sharp. The satchel that fits inside the backpack is made from tarps and will protect from anything wet. Just add a 13 gallon trash bag for easy disposal of litter.
The pack comes with long tongs, also created by Ken, that are aluminum, break down to half size for travel, and both keep your hands away from trash while saving your back from bending over.
Planet People donates packs and matches donors with schools that want Planet Packs. Every school has environmentally motivated teachers, librarians, clubs and students that Planet People wants to partner up with to engage students.
Ken envisions teachers homing the pack—just like the class rabbit of his generation. Kids can take the pack home overnight to pick up on their street, and become local heroes. Planet People hopes to use sponsors, donations and the help of other organizations to be able to donate Planet Packs to any educational program that wants them.
“Students can become Waste Free Warriors and learn they can do something now to care for their neighborhood and planet. They become empowered and aware through this simple work.”
Ken and Planet People promote Planet Pick-up events regularly. Planet Pick-up events are meet-ups for people interested in picking up litter in a group setting. They are a great way for young people to get their first taste of doing good for the environment in a safe way. If you are in the Burlington area, join the Burlington Sustainability Meetup group to get updated on local pick-ups.
Planet People invites organizations with earth caring constituencies to join their mission and become Planet Partners. They want to highlight your organization and work, invite your supporters to join this project, and offer discounts when they purchase or donate Planet Packs. You can find more information about this on their website.
These days, Planet People is looking for more people interested in tackling litter in their neighborhoods, for donors who would like to help Planet People donate Planet Packs to schools, and for green oriented corporate sponsors who are willing to help fund the creation of Planet Packs in return for branding.
“The most rewarding thing about starting Planet People has been the reactions from people who start doing this and realize how good it feels. The testimonials people send me, the pictures of kids tromping around with a Planet Pack, and the enthusiastic reaction from everyday folks on the street who see us picking up are the things that keep me going.”
It’s as simple as that. It’s action vs. angst, it’s easy and healthy, and it feels good to do good. For more information about Planet People or purchasing a Planet Pack or starting a litter collection project at a school near you, or learn how to become involved and request your own Planet Pack for your family and or local schools at www.bestofburlingtonvt.com
Planet People Inc.
2338 Greenbush Road