Cohasset family starts worldwide movement to collect garbage one bag at a time

COHASSET, Mass. — A South Shore family is on a quest to collect garbage one bag at a time.

Their movement started in Cohasset and has now gone worldwide, with litter collectors on six of the seven continents.

While on a New Year’s Eve walk, the Burgess family brought a bag to collect trash on Sandy Beach in Cohasset. They were shocked by the amount of litter they found.

“It looks clean. You look at it and you think there’s no trash on it, but when you actually are walking along and not looking for sea glass -- you’re looking for trash -- there’s so much,” said Sarah Burgess.

So Burgess and her husband, Phil, and their two children, made a New Year’s resolution to collect or inspire other people to collect 2,020 bags of garbage in 2020. They made an Instagram account and called it: Just 1 Bag 2020.

“I would go out in the three-degree January Cohasset weather with the sand frozen to these cans and bottles and chipping away with them with my feet,” Burgess commented.

Thanks to the power of social media, word quickly spread and their movement became a global phenomenon. People are collecting in 40 states and 36 countries around the world.

“We’ve had Sweden, Norway, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal. We’ve had Morocco, South Africa, just so many. Canada, Argentina, Costa Rica. Countries all over the world have gotten involved. One from Russia as well, so it’s pretty cool,” said Burgess.

Thanks to the global effort, the Burgesses shattered their ambitious goal in mid-April. The movement is now at 10,000 bags. Their goal is now to collect 20,000 bags of garbage by the end of the year.

“The world is pretty difficult right now. There’s a lot we can’t control, but picking up a bag and making where you live better, we can control,” Burgess said.

If you’re interested in helping, once you’ve filled a bag, snap a photo and post it on your Instagram and tag @Just1bag2020.