Douglas Sandin

Earth action hero: Picking up litter adds to the walk

Maybe you’ve noticed the man with the Lands’ End bag walking along Lyndale and Nicollet avenues and 98th Street? Douglas Sandin goes out for an hour-long walk every day, year-round. Along his three-and-a-half mile-route, he puts his Bloomington pride to work and does his part to make the community better. He picks up litter, all kinds of litter. 

In 2014, after heart trouble—and following his doctor’s advice—Sandin took up walking. Litter removal soon became part of his routine and continues to this day.

“I’m no hero. I’m not looking for recognition,” Sandin said. “I’m trying to give my heart a workout and thought while I was doing that I’d do something useful.”

People around town have taken notice of Sandin, with his plastic Lands’ End bag in tow. As he finds litter, he puts it into the bag, then empties it when he goes by a public garbage can. If there’s anything left over beyond that, he takes the litter home for disposal. When he finds keys or other items of value, he takes them to the police station.

A neighbor, Norma Macdonald-Ockwig, was so impressed by Sandin’s faithful routine of walking and removing litter that she contacted Lands’ End. The company sent Sandin a collection of its signature plastic bags and a fancy canvas bag. Now, if you spot Sandin out on his daily walk, his Lands’ End bag will be new—and most likely filled with litter.