Can you pick up three bits of rubbish?

Posted 10 August 2023 by
Kevin Wood, The Myers-Briggs Company

3 minute read

When you want to achieve something by changing your behavior, do you set big goals for yourself? Or do you form habits? 

Forming habits lacks the drama and big-picture thrill of focusing on the end goals, but it could be a more effective way to reach that goal. 

This is especially true if you start with micro habits—something so small that it doesn’t seem worth doing. 

‘It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small— through micro habits,’ writes Sabina Nawaz in Harvard Business Review. ‘Micro habits are small components of a larger habit. By breaking down an ambitious job into smaller, more achievable ones that you build over long periods of time, micro habits help you complete big goals.’

A key feature of habits is consistency. And to be consistent, a habit or activity must be simple. 

It’s this principle that informs Take 3 for the Sea’s environmental mission. 

The Australian not-for-profit organization is fighting to protect the world’s seas, oceans, and waterways from the destructive impact of plastic pollution. It’s doing this by appealing to people to make a small behavioral change.

The idea, captured brilliantly in their name, is so simple that anyone can do it.

Can you pick up three bits of rubbish?

Whenever you’re at the beach or waterside (or anywhere else, for that matter), just pick up three pieces of litter and take them away for proper recycling or disposal. 

That’s it.

Even better, repeat the action and spread the word, like the Take 3 mantra says: 

"Simple actions to address complex problems.
Together we can make a massive impact."

But why are we talking about Take 3 for the Sea?

We’re thrilled to announce that Take 3 for the Sea is our new official charity partner 2023–24. 

Voted for by The Myers-Briggs Company employees from an environment-themed shortlist of charities, the Take 3 mission and message has captured our imagination. We’re looking forward to support and promoting their work. 

This is how some of our employees got started and we’d love for you to be part of Take 3’s mission, too.

Plastics pile-up

Because plastic doesn’t degrade, it just mounts up when it’s been used and discarded. 

The Science Advances journal notes that, ‘The vast majority of monomers used to make plastics, such as ethylene and propylene, are derived from fossil hydrocarbons. None of the commonly used plastics are biodegradable. As a result, they accumulate, rather than decompose, in landfills or the natural environment.’ (Geyer, Jambek, Lavender Law, Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, 2017)

According to the Take 3 website, 9 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced between 1950 and 2017. 

7 billion tonnes are waste. 75% of that waste is in landfill sites or it’s in the environment, which eventually finds ways to pollute the seas, oceans, and waterways. 

Breaking it down

The data is so huge that it could easily overwhelm. After all, change needs to come from many angles.

But Take 3 for the Sea offers a practical way to contribute in one specific area. They’ve focused on a simple action that everyone can do to make a difference. They’ve gone for the micro habit.

Remember, it just takes three.

Happy litter picking!


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