Words by Mathias Winterberg.

… and most of all a terribly rainy but still fun Sunday out at Landeyjafjara! Together with the Icelandic Blue Army and volunteers from SEEDS, Midgard Adventure invited for a Beach Cleaning Day and over 40 people showed up. All working hard for our planet, for our environment, for our community: fighting against the pollution and the harsh weather …

How we managed to pick up three carriers full of trash within a few hours? Well… while you bring normally your sunglasses, your bathing suit and a towel to the beach – as well as a wool hat for the real Icelandic way… our beach cleaners showed up well prepared. Thanks to the following tips of our veteran beach-cleaning pro’s.

Beach Cleaning Survival Guide

… don’t forget your waterproof clothes and boots, even if it does not look like rain.
Well… even the most waterproof clothing got wet, but it has maybe not to be that rainy every beach-cleaning-day, or has it really?!

… bring your appetite with, our local meat factory Sláturfélag Suðurlands provides to all the beach-cleaners their famous hotdogs for free. Even the heaviest rain can’t stop Gina from bbq them all perfectly: hotdog with a bit of black sand on top? Still yummy!

…  don’t forget your work gloves to collect the muddy trash. Unless you’re as strong as Addi, who didn’t need gloves – pure Icelandic handwork.

… don’t worry if you don’t have a trash picker, we’ve got you covered. Honestly, this was our smallest problem.

… maybe you wanna bring your camera – you will find treasures that you want to photograph. In any case, we found tons of plastic, nets, buoys and other waste from the fishing industry.

… accept the fact that you will get wet and dirty.  Ask Stefan how it feels like.

… if you get cold or do not feel motivated anymore, use our Midgard-Playlist for a little dance-break. Or just do a visualization how you sit in our Midgard hot tub. Or in the sauna if you are as cold as we were.


“Even though I am only for 10 days in Iceland, I wanted to do something good to the earth. That’s why I joined the SEEDS volunteers for the Midgard Beach-Cleaning”

Catherine, 20 from Hong Kong

“At the beginning I thought this beach is so clean, what are we doing here? But the further we went, the more surprised we were about how much trash is lying around. I would have never thought that I would find that much trash in Iceland, in one of the cleanest countries of the world.”
Cecilia, 22 from Italy

“I feel very pleased to have done something good to our planet. But at the same time I feel very sad because we cannot remove all the trash lying around here. And there will come more trash from the sea every day.”
Fernando, 30 from Brazil

“The worse the weather, the better tastes the hotdog. What a reward for our efforts here at the beach!”
Julia, 17 from Switzerland

Helping hands from The Blue Army and SEEDS

We are thankful and proud that we got supported by Tómmi Knúts and The Blue Army of Iceland. Tómmi continues to run The Blue Army, a registered NGO in Iceland and is working for the last 3 years fulltime on his mission for the environment. He has organized more than 500 beach cleanings in the last 28 years, often joined by local and visiting volunteers, politicians and international embassies. And when manpower isn’t enough, Tómmi uses his signature blue pickup truck to remove large items like fishing nets and other ghost gear.

“Since 1995 over 11’000 volunteers of The Blue Army have spent over 90 thousand man-hours in over 500 different projects to remove almost 1700 metric tons of all kinds of rubbish (scrap metal, fishing gear, plastic, tires, timber, batteries) from Icelandic nature.” says Tómmi. “I am so glad that Midgard Adventure contacted me and that we could bring the SEEDS-volunteers also on board: the more hands the better, that’s why we got such a fruitful result.”

Tómmi has worked tirelessly towards ocean protection for more than 28 years and shows no signs of stopping! He is even in heavy rain a shining example of the difference we can make when we work together for a clean and healthy environment.

We could as well count on more than 20 international volunteers from SEEDS, an Icelandic non-governmental and non-profit volunteer organization. SEEDS is designed to promote intercultural understanding and environmental protection through various work projects within Iceland. As our beach cleaning proofed, the projects from SEEDS are designed to be mutually beneficial to all involved: the volunteers, the local hosting communities and Iceland as a whole. Since 2005 SEEDS  has hosted around 8000 international and local volunteers in all their projects around Iceland.

Three Questions to…

Hildur Guðbjörg Kristjánsdóttir, Midgard co-owner and Head of Sustainability

How do you sum up the beach cleaning?

This day did overshoot our expectations. We were happy to register for the clean-up-project with Earth day, bringing Iceland on the map. It was great to have the legend Tommi from the Blue Army with us on this project and as well fantastic volunteers from SEEDS Iceland. This will most definitely be an ongoing project with them. The beach had surprisingly a  lot of waste. To begin with we thought there was not a lot of trash but then we found endless things, mostly fishing nets, ropes and other things that had washed from shore.  We appreciated the support from the local hot dog factory  Sláturfélag Suðurlands, they provided us with hot dogs and prevented us from getting hangry. The weather was a combination of rain/hail and slush so it was a real icelandic adventure day. This was a perfect kick- off into our sustainability week!

How optimistic are you that you can motivate your crew again for a beach cleaning?

This was a great day despite the cold weather. The team had fun and WE have the greatest team. It was fantastic spending the day with them outside in the beautiful nature doing something meaningful like this. It’s a great group dynamic activity for our staff. I am optimistic that Midgard will do it enthusiastically again, but hope to motivate next time also the community.

Trash or Treasure?

We found a lot of trash, wet nets, muddy ropes and many buoys. We kept the buoys, we gonna recycle them and use in our Base Camp. If you visit us, you will see what we did with them. My son Markus, the youngest active beach-cleaner (next to a sleeping baby), found fish eggs. He is very proud of the fish eggs and now it is a decorative treasure next to other treasures at our sofa table.

Midgard & The Environment

We believe that everyone can make a difference when it comes to minimizing our impact on the environment.

We have a responsibility towards our planet to treat it well, to care for our environment and to be aware of our impact on nature.

We aim to practice regenerative tourism and leave our beautiful nature in a better place than it was before we visited and have positive impacts on our nature and society.

We are committed to our environmental and sustainability policy. Go check it out here.

About the Author

Mathias came a long way from Switzerland and joined with his family the Midgard family for a month, giving space to a project of his heart: while he is normally commenting on cross-country skiing and athletics for national television, he put all his efforts in the organization of the first Midgard Sustainability Week.

“To organize together with the committed Midgard Crew our sustainability events (that you will further get to know in the upcoming blog posts) has been a wonderful adventure.  The experience of how enthusiastically and thoughtfully Midgard Adventure tackles its environmental responsibility is definitely something that I will take back from Iceland. Next to ever-lasting memories from a wet and cold cleaning-day at the beach of course 😉 But hey, we had also other best days – witnessing Iceland at it’s best!”