Collective clean-up: Volunteers aim to make Aalborg’s street cleaner

by Shellie Boudreau

Today we are constantly bombarded with messages about making more conscious choices for a greener and healthier environment. 

Be better at sorting garbage, reducing waste and overconsumption and considering the next generation and their children.  

Although we agree and it sounds responsible and something we wish to achieve, many may wonder where to start, how to help, and question if we can make a difference.

The 28-year-old Nicolai Kruse Porskrog got a spark of inspiration as he travelled from his home to work place at Eternitten. The idea set into motion the group’s formation called the Nip-Tang Clan.

He noticed just how much garbage there was around the city in every nook and corner. The trash and leftover debris continued to grow day in and day out. 

“I just got tired of looking at all the mess and started to go out and pick it up,” Nicolai explains to MyAalborg.

10-year-old garbage collected

Nicolai’s initiative, rooted in a desire to have nice clean city streets and landscape, quickly spread amongst his circle of friends.  They eventually followed him on a trip. Amongst them was his good friend Emma With Bødker.

Soon it was evident that Nicolai’s two hands were simply not enough to gather all the garbage and waste around. 

“At one point we spent four hours cleaning up the intersection of Bornholmsgade and motor way access – that was just one trip. We were six people and gathered 20 bags of garbage.

The garbage collected was older than 10 years and jammed between bushes and trees. Removing the trash felt good and like a success,” Emma says.

All hands make a difference

The idea behind the Nip-Tang Clan began to flourish with the new group. Today, the clean-up work has turned into a public event that is open to anyone who wants to participate. 

Nicolai, Emma and the rest of the team behind the group plan the dates, which often occur on a Sunday, once a month, and for two hours. The group meets up at a chosen area, gathers the local rubbish and debris, has some fun, and shares a few laughs together while helping. 

“We are totally fine if people only join for 15 minutes to help.

Every set of extra hands and minutes makes a noticeable difference. We can see that people immediately feel the impact they create and become more aware of their own habits,” Nicolai and Emma tells us. 

“As our fellowship and group grows, we begin to take on knowledge about how much waste is polluting our surroundings, but also how little effort is required to remedy the situation,” Emma adds.

“That is why we started to share ideas on our Instagram, so people can see and learn about simple tips that can make a greener every day. Often these tips require minimal effort.”

Leading the fight

For Nip-Tang Clan, the monthly clean-up day is more than a pleasant, social experience; it’s a way to lead the fight for a greener Aalborg  – and the support is massive.

“When we collect garbage, we are greeted with high fives and praise. People are really positive about the community work we are performing. The problem, of course, is that a high five and praise are a long way from people doing the task themselves. 

We understand that some may not wish to spend a Sunday cleaning up the street, but being aware that we are doing this is essential,” Nicolai says and continues:

“Helping clean does not necessarily have to be with us. One could easily do it when and where it makes sense; our group member Tiffany has for example a bag tied to her dog leash so she can pick garbage when out for a walk. 

The same would be possible on a pram or buggy or just during a regular stroll through the park or similar. If everyone does just a little, no one has to do a lot, just as long as we all make an effort.”

Garbage collection for Aalborg Carnival

Nip-Tang Clan organizes clean-up events regularly, so you can constantly follow and get updated via their social media and check out where and when they are heading next – maybe close to you. 

However, it’s been decided that the next trip will be connected with Aalborg Karneval where they will collect bottles with a recycle deposit (pant) – and clean-up.

“We are a volunteer group without a large operating budget so collecting recyclables and using the refund deposits can help support the purchase of supplies to support our garbage collection efforts.

This way when other volunteers join, they do not need to bring their own supplies and tools,” Nicolai says.

It’s not surprising to anyone in Aalborg that the days after the carnival, the city center does not look its best.

Therefore, Nip-Tang Clan and the municipality will be gathering garbage and recyclables during the day.

“Aalborg Carnival generates a lot of garbage and waste. That waste quickly spreads around the city center by the wind well before the municipality comes with their wagons to make a cleanup. 

This is why we decided to be more active during the day to gather the worst and minimize the spread of garbage,” Emma says.

Do you want to learn more about Nip-Tang Clan and perhaps be part of the group? If yes, you can read more here on their Instagram.