Lose the Litter

Ever noticed one small piece of litter on the ground? While it may not seem like much, that one piece can lead to a big litter problem. According to findings in a litter study conducted by Keep America Beautiful, litter invites litter and people are far more likely to drop litter where they see other litter on the ground. So once an area has just a little bit of litter, more and more litter will appear around it.

Litter doesn’t just look messy; it can actually harm animals and people. Too much litter leads to flooding and water pollution and costs a lot of money to clean up. So one to-go cup can suddenly become one big problem!

Here are some ways to prevent and reduce litter:

  1. Don’t litter! Avoid throwing gum, candy wrappers, drink cups, plastic bottles, and other items onto the ground. Look for trash and recycling bins. If you don’t see them, carry your trash and recycling with you. When you get home, put it in the right place—the trash can or recycling bin.
  2. Pick up litter. When taking a walk, pick up litter that others drop in your neighborhood. At parks and sporting events, be sure that you leave the area as clean as you found it. Better yet, pick up any litter you find.
  3. When you take your trash or recyclables to the curb, make sure the lids are closed on the containers or carts. If your containers don’t have lids, be sure to put lightweight items underneath heavier things so nothing blows out.
  4. Organize a litter cleanup at a local park or in your neighborhood. Pick a day and invite your friends, classmates, teammates, or neighbors. Remind everyone to bring a pair of gloves so their hands don’t get cut or dirty. If you’ll be near a road or parking lot, wear bright or light colors or safety vests so that drivers will be able to see and avoid you. Be sure to properly recycle and dispose of all the trash when you are done.

Want to do more to discourage littering? Check out Keep America Beautiful’s campaign, “Littering is Wrong Too.”

Photo credit: © iStock.com | gmnicholas

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