By: Lynne Hart
Imagine it is a beautiful morning and you are off to run errands. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and along the roadside you spot…trash! Why would someone just throw trash out like that with no concern for the environment or the ugliness it creates?
Let’s back up a minute before we judge someone for their litterbug behaviors. There is more than one way for trash to become litter.
According to a study by Keep America Beautiful, motorists and pedestrians contribute a combined 70% of littered items; however, not all of this trash has been carelessly tossed from car windows.
Vehicles with loads that are not properly secured, including trash collection vehicles, or loose trash in truck beds account for a large portion of roadside trash. Often, drivers are completely unaware that they have just broken the law.
Also contributing to roadside litter are trash containers not properly secured with a tight fitting lid. Placing loose trash in a container without first bagging it can easily cause a littering situation when the trash can is dumped. In these cases, most guilty parties are completely unaware that their actions have created a litter situation.
Tobacco products account for nearly 38% of all U.S. roadway litter. It is a fact that many people who would never think of littering anything else, may not think twice about flicking cigarette butts out vehicle windows, tossing them in ditches, or stomping them on the ground. In fact, trillions of cigarette butts are littered every single year! The chemicals and poisons that leach from cigarette litter have a huge impact on the environment.
Pedestrians litter most often at transition points – areas where individuals consuming a food or tobacco product must discard it before entering. This would include stores, theatres, restaurants, schools, etc. We need to take the extra minute to look for receptacles and use them.
Tips To Avoid Being An Accidental Litterbug
- Securely cover all trash receptacles and don’t set out loose bags.
- Bag all trash before placing in trash can. This not only helps when cans are dumped, but keeps the trash more secure in the trash trucks.
- Cover your loads securely and keep loose trash out of truck beds.
- Discard tobacco products properly.
- Never leave trash behind. Leave the area better than you found it.
People are the only living creatures that use packaging, eat at fast food restaurants, use vehicles for transportation, or purchase tobacco products. Therefore, people are solely responsible for every bit of litter created.
We realize that sometimes littering is accidental, but that doesn’t mean it is ok. All we ask is that together we take greater care.
KALB staff and board members invite you, your neighbors, club members, and others to take a stand against the litter problem in Limestone County. SPEAK OUT! Voice your opinions about litter – how it reflects a lack of community pride. STAND UP! Support this non-profit organization or others who are working to make our community better with your tax-deductible donation. STEP OUT! Adopt a roadside to keep clean, or organize a neighborhood pride day. KALB will help! You can count on us for trash bags, gloves, safety vests, and litter grabbers. If you need guidance on beautification projects, we have connections! We will provides tips on how to be successful. Just ask!
Together….the only way to get it done.
By: Lynne Hart