Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't Be a LitterBug ...

The other day while we were hiking, we stopped to admire a waterfall ... just a small waterfall, but beautiful. The surrounding area was serene ... birds were singing ... the sky was blue and ... a soda can sat nestled among the wildflowers. As we walked a little further, we noticed candy wrappers and cigarette buds. And we wondered ... why do some people think that this is OK?

Earlier today, in my car, something red caught my eye. I could see it bouncing across the street but couldn't make it out. As traffic began to move and I got closer, I watched a red plastic cup bounce it's way right into a storm drain. And again I wondered ... why do some people think that this is OK?

Litter is waste disposed of in the wrong place by unlawful human action. Not only is it an eye sore, it actually harms the environment. For example, cigarette buds and filters are a threat to wildlife ... fish, animals, birds, etc., mistake them for food and ingest them. Open containers such as cans and plastic cups can hold rainwater, providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects. Small critters often crawl into bottles and get stuck, starving to death when they can't escape. Litter that ends up in a storm drain may end up in our waterways, polluting plant and animal life.

Here are a few interesting litter facts:

  • Cigarettes are the most littered item in the world. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, a plastic, and they can take decades to degrade. Not only is the toxic residue damaging to the environment, tossed cigarettes are responsible for numerous fires every year.

  • Among the most common items found during litter cleanups are fast-food wrappers and aluminum cans (beer and soda cans).

  • The annual cost of roadside litter control, in the U.S., is $115 million.

  • According to Keep America Beautiful there are seven primary sources of litter:

  1. Household trash at the curbside
  2. Dumpsters used by businesses
  3. Loading docks
  4. Construction and demolition sites
  5. Uncovered trucks
  6. Motorists
  7. Pedestrians

OK ... litter is bad! It's ugly, it's destructive, it's environmentally hazardous. So today's tip is real easy ... DON'T LITTER. Here's are some things we can do:

  • DISPOSE OF TRASH PROPERLY!! If you don't see a trash bin, carry your trash home.

  • Use an ashtray for cigarette disposal or a receptacle designed for that purpose.

  • Carry a litter bag in your car, boat and on your bicycle.

  • Securely cover trash containers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.

  • Cover and secure any vehicle, truck or trailer carrying a load. Tarps can prevent litter from falling or blowing onto the roadside.

  • When visiting parks and recreation areas make sure to leave the area clean.

  • Follow the golden rule of hiking ... carry out what you carry in.

As with most green living ideas, this one is about awareness. We need to think about our actions and choose to do the right thing. The earth, and all of it's inhabitants, will thank you!

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. Litter Bugs

    one of my pet hates

    where we are at the moment i have watched countless people pull in and with complete awe take some wonderful shots of the surrounding area then just as they pull out to carry on their journey i watch as the window or windows slowly open followed by a stream of rubbish


  2. I hate to see ltter everywhere! I am the one picking up everyones trash. Why me? Do people not know what a trash can is?

  3. I hate cigarette butts! Thank you for the reminder of how our actions can ruin beauty.

    You have great information on your blog for living green thank you.

  4. Oh boy, you have posted my worse pet peeve!! Everytime I drive the highways where I live, I see the litter strewn everywhere. It makes me sick to see it. And, when I mention it to other people, they seem to find no fault with it.

    But, I see it differently. I think it's because people have become so accustomed to seeing it that they are now indifferent to it.

    The saddest part of this issue, is how easy the solution is. Just keep your garbage to yourself!!

  5. Would they treat their lounges at home the same way?



  6. I'm going to a festival this weekend, and it is always so disheartening to be among environmentally minded people then walk to the john after a long night and see the space in front of the stage loaded with cups, butts, paper plates, and various other trash (especially when trash cans are so convenient). Asheville's Earth Day celebration was a great example of how alcohol and nightfall can increase laziness, even among Earth minded folks. I am not certain what the fines are, but in addition to all littering monetary fines violators should also have to log a large number of community service hours cleaning up other people's litter.

  7. Aaaargh! Like others here, I detest litter and ...well, people who do the littering too. It's so careless and selfish and disrespectful of the planet and its creatures.

    Every day I walk to work along a river and feel sad when I see the rubbish floating in it, especially all the bottles and other flotsam that get caught up in the reeds along the bank. It's an eyesore. The council has contraptions set up to collect the rubbish, but why can't people just do the right thing? It's not that hard! I wonder if I could make a citizen's arrest when I see people in the act? Frisky Librarian...Litter Avenger!

  8. I cannot understand litter bugs, I even want the inside clean. Do not mess with nature.

  9. Great Post! But what would I do for exercise if people stopped tossing their trash on my lawn at The Bunny Bungalow? I bet I could find cleaner fun.

  10. The best and worse time of the year for me is spring : The best because it is life coming back to a very seriously "wintered" place, worse because as the snow melts, it frees all the trash that was trapped in it and collected by plows and such. The lawns in public areas are completely covered with trash and it takes the city weeks to clean it up...

    *sighs a heavy sigh*

    Just goes to prove the quote "out of sight, out of mind"... Funny, I thought a mind was an independant thing...

    Great post!


  11. Really enjoyed your blog. Keep up the good work..

  12. Do you know one of the most littered places in South America?

    The Inca Trail.

    From Km88 to Machu Picchu it is like an enormous rubbish dump. Only in the last few years have tour companies tried to tidy their act. But there is almost no point on the trail where you can't see rubbish.


  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog and the encouraging comment..I put your blog on my face book page as blog of the day. When I put it on facebook page the picture of the little critters beside the road was imported also. That is a really great picture...

  14. I agree 100% that litter is awful! Seems that some people are just so insensitive to it all! Whixh is a shame! Especially in the woods, forests, etc. Too bad more people just do not pick up someones trash when they throw it down and just walk up to them and say, "Excuse me but here you dropped something!" Imagine the look on there face when you do that! Priceless is what I would call it!

  15. Great tips as always!
    Suprisingly, litter in North American or in any developed world is considered TREASURE to poor people in a third world nation. I've shot stories in Asia where poor people collect trash and make a living out of it (a sad living), but nonetheless, it goes to show that we throw out waaay too much and not even know it!

  16. When this article read by other and sensitible people I m sure enviroment must be protect best and much more,thanks a lot sharing.Best wishes

  17. I read somewhere that an ordinary plastic bottle can take 450 years to decompose. 450 YEARS!

    So: don't ever ever litter!

    Thanks for an inspiring blog!

  18. Thats a great picture for this great cause. We all must remind those people who neglect our beautiful planet wether they like it or not,put trash in its place.
    I hate litter bugs,step on one!-Bob

  19. hi i was just reading your article you are so right about all this litter i also live in NC and its clean in some places but not in orthers i live between pilot mtn. and mt.airy you always see people though stuff out the car windows it is awfull but there are kind souls out there that go along roadsides picking up god bless you you have all great stories ps. thanks for visiting my site useconomynow

  20. I literally feel like crying when I see that crap and then I go right to anger. People like that don't deserve to be a part of this planet b/c clearly they don't give a shit about it so why should we have to share something so wonderful with these idiots.

  21. Like many of the above this is my main pet peeve. What are they thinking? Or maybe that is the answer, they just don't think. . .ever!


  22. People who litter were taught to litter and it is just so sad and disrespectful.

  23. thoght you might like this wee fil we did here in the Scottish highlands

  24. I hate it when people litter. My daughter will actually say, "Mommy why don't the police arrest those people" when she sees people throwing cigarrettes out of their car windows.

    When we go hiking in parks and camping places we always pick up trash we see along the trails.

    I HATE it when people leave their messes behind.

  25. One of my biggest pet peaves is when someone in a car in front of me opens their window and deliberately drops a wrapper or some other trash in the street. Who do they expect to clean up after them?!! Drives me crazy! Anyways, I love your blog...I'm your newest follower. I saw you on The Girl Next Door. Keep up the good work!


  26. I hate people who litter. There is just no good reason to do so.