Challenge #7: No trash on the ground – trash it right!

If you see some trash on the ground pick it up and throw it into a trash can.

And please, don’t throw any garbage on the ground. Use public trash cans!

Use public trash can

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone

else will save it.”

-Robert Swan

Most of you reading this post are probably not littering and are consistent about putting garbage into a trash can and not throwing it on the ground. That’s why this week’s challenge will be a bit harder since we are asking you to pick up someone else’s trash.

We are aware that it might be a lot to ask, especially for those of you with high “germ awareness”, but please, do your best to pick up at least one thing that has no place on the ground and put it in an appropriate trash can.

If you really feel like this is too much and you’re not willing to pick up someone else’s trash than there is an alternative challenge:

Tell the first person you see throwing trash on the floorgarbage that he/she shouldn’t be doing that and politely ask him/her to pick it up and throw it into the trash can.

Please, use nice tone and avoid conflict at all cost. We really
don’t want you to get into a fight over our challenge.

We’re against violent behavior, but to be completely honest, we do think that a person throwing trash on the ground at least deserves a few hard words. So if you know the person that just throw a piece of trash on the ground well, don’t hold back. 😉

“Littering is a crime, but they’re not enforcing the law. We need to educate the youths on why littering is bad and the effect litter has on neighborhoods.”

-Johnnise Downs

If you’re willing to perform both of those challenges, you’re of course more than welcome to do so.

We’ll do our best to present to you some pretty disturbing facts that will give you some extra push to perform this week’s challenge with ease and pleasure.

Facts about littering

Let us first write down the definition of littering. Littering means to make (a place) untidy with rubbish or a large number of objects left lying about. So, make sure to keep it tidy, folks.

Don't litter

  • Littering is illegal! Remember that by throwing a piece of trash on the ground you’re breaking the law. Fines differ from country to country, from state to state. Average fine in the US is around $100, but in some European countries, it can get even up to €500.
  • Cleaning up litter is extremely expensive. In the US millions of dollars are spent each year for that purpose. Guess where the money comes from – taxpayers’ pockets. By littering, you’re basically spending your own money.
  • Litter often causes car accidents! That’s why there are higher fines for littering on highways. But the wind can carry all sorts of trash on the roads from elsewhere.
  • Neighborhoods with littering problems tend to lose values on homes and properties.
  • Most types of trash are smelly and dirty, which has an impact on people, animals, and the environment.
  • A lot of places have experienced severe impact on tourism due to littering.
  • Litter can cause groundwater pollution since chemicals that are contained inside some object seep into the soil.
  • Places with high littering are more likely to be the site of fires since pieces of trash tend to ignite first.
  • Fast food containers are the most common littering object. Next time you’ll buy a burger to go, remember to put the wrapping into a trash can.
  • Litter often carry germs, viruses, and bacteria and it also attracts scavengers.
  • Cigarette butts make up over half of littered objects.
  • AND IT LOOKS AWFUL! You have to agree, that seeing trash all over the park, sidewalk or anywhere else than in a trash can is a very ugly sight.
Main reasons why people throw trash on the ground

When you confront people asking them why they threw a
piece of trash on the ground, in most cases, they will come up with one of trash-canthe following excuses:

  • The garbage cans are already too full.
  • A trash can is too far.
  • Being drunk.
  • Thinking that one small paper on the ground doesn’t matter.
  • Thinking there are bigger problems then to worry about littering.
  • Seeing other people do it.
  • Seeing there is already some trash on the ground.
  • Not finding the appropriate trash can (in a case of recycling cans).
  • Being lazy.

These are just some main reasons. There are probably many others, but we believe you get the picture. In most cases, the excuses people use are really lame.

None of the above can justify the action of throwing trash on the ground. Even if the trash cans are already overflowing – you can always find another public trash bin or take the trash home with you.

“At its core the issue of a clean environment is a matter of public health.”

Gina McCarthy

Chewing gums and cigarette butts are a big problem

We think those two deserve a few extra words. Chewing gums and cigarette butts are both very small, that’s why people tend to think they don’t even count as a litter. But they sure do!

cigarette-butts

Cigarette butts represent half of all litter objects in the world (that’s in numbers not in volume). It is a common misconception that cigarette butts dissolve very fast. But that’s not the case. It takes around 10 years for a cigarette butt to decompose and as such, they are a serious threat to the environment. Smokers read more here.

Smokers, please use those public ashtrays, they can literally be found around every corner.

And don’t forget, that cigarette butts are one of the most common sources of fires all around the globe. PLEASE, DON’T THROW CIGARETTE BUTTS ON THE GROUND EVER AGAIN!

Another small but nasty objects are used chewing gums. They too need a very long time to decompose.

While still wet, a used chewing gum can be a really nasty problem for anyone stepping on it. It is very hard to clean. Not to mention seating on it. But if it happens to you, here are some tips how to get it off your shoe.

When they get dry, they make a really ugly sight. Moreover, removing them from the sidewalk or any other similar surfaces is also extremely complicated and it costs cities a lot of money to do so.

Please, remember not to throw chewing gum on the ground in the future. Always put it in a trash can.

Chewing gum on the ground

A potential solution for littering problems

Many people that deal with the littering problem on a higher level claim that this problem can be solved by applying a 3 step process: stop littering, pick up litter and report if you see someone litteringIt sounds simple and completely logical.

Since no one ever liked telltales before, we won’t ask you to perform the third step. But you should perform the first step at all times if nothing else to avoid fines.

We also ask you to try to perform step number two as often as possible. If nothing else, do it this week to perform this week’s challenge. We’re not asking you to do your best, just do better. It will already make a difference.

For those of you who want to do as much as possible

If you’re one of those people who’d really like to do the best they can, here is our suggestion. From time to time just go for a walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash along the way. That way you’ll join exercising and doing something great for the environment. Along the way, you might end up setting an example.

Since there tend to be a lot of germs on trash, consider using gloves and a tool to make picking up trash easier and faster.

Take-home points:
  • don’t throw trash on the ground;
  • littering looks awful and it smells bad;
  • littering can cause environmental problems;
  • put cigarette butts in a public ashtray;
  • put chewing gums in a trash can;
  • try and pick up trash from time to time – use grabber tools.

One of those deep quotes for the road:

“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.”

-Terri Swearinger

With love and care,

Good Earthlings

4 comments

  1. Brenna says:

    I had never really thought about how frustrating litter could be outside of my own inconvenience. Cigarette butts and gum on the ground are SO frustrating. However, I see what you’re getting at here. I sincerely did not know that trash causes major accidents on highways! I had never considered why the fines were higher on the thruway. I definitely will stop and pick up that trash from this point forward!

    • Good Earthling says:

      Hi Brenna!

      We are really happy to hear that. Stay in touch. We bet we can pitch you more new info in upcoming weeks. 🙂

      Love,

      Good Earthlings

  2. Michel says:

    Wow, what a detailed article on littering. I can see that you feel passionately about this subject. I agree that litter does look terrible and mostly caused by people too lazy to walk to the nearest bin.

    They should definitely be more vigilant world wide about enforcing fines for people who are caught littering, just as speeding cars are fined. I think this is the best way to curb this nasty habit.

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