Pick that up!

How can you change this?

Litter is a plague. It is a worldwide problem. Litter generated on one side of the planet can find its way to the other is as little as two weeks. Are you hanging your head because you are part of the problem or holding it up because you are part of the solution?

What is it?

How long does litter last? Compliments of Greenlife

How long does litter last? Compliments of Greenlife

The most common litter items are cigarette butts, plastic bags, food wrappers, bottle caps, six-pack holders, paper, food bags, glass bottles, straws and drink cans. It is just one _________, right? Each one adds up. 180 million tons of trash is generated each year.

Who does it?

Before you start pointing fingers…

  • Women and men are equally guilty.
  • Children under 15 are the least likely to litter.
  • People under 25 are most likely to litter in a group.
  • People over 25 are most likely to litter when they are alone.

Young people litter to impress their “friends”, and more mature people litter when they think they will not be caught.

Why do they do it?

Most litterers do not think their item is litter. Just like the question above, they do not think their one item is litter because they see litter as a large collection of trash.

Litterers do not feel like litter removal is their responsibility. Some even view their littering as job security for someone else.

Since waterway clean up makes headlines, the measurement of litter removed from streams, lakes, beaches and waterways startled many news watchers: nearly 7 million pounds of litter removed in one day.

Litter Kills Marine Life Compliments of WoundedNature.com

Litter Kills Marine Life Compliments of WoundedNature.com

Very few litterers have any knowledge of the environmental impact of their trash. They do not know around 300 different species will die this year from being entangled in or digesting litter which becomes marine debris.

But it is only one piece.

Compliments of the US Forestry Service

Compliments of the US Forestry Service

Using the litterer’s mantra against them works. If only internet users picked up one piece of litter today, more than 300 million fewer pieces of litter would be polluting the environment. If we each picked up ten, we would remove 3 billion pieces of trash.

What can I do?

The very first thing to do is stop littering. Do not dispose of anything inappropriately. Put trash in designated receptacles. Put recyclable materials in the correct container.

Do not leave items where they can become litter. If you break something, pick up all of the pieces. If you drop something, pick it up. If you are leaving something outside for a purpose, secure it so it stays intact.

You can make this better.

If you walk past a piece of litter, pick it up. Spend one hour this week picking up it litter. Whether you choose the roadside on the way to your job, a park, an apartment complex, outside a business, on a beach, along your favorite nature trail or beside your favorite body of water, pick up all the litter you can find.


If you see someone litter, politely ask the person to pick it up. If they apologize, share some of the impact trash has on the environment.

If you are not comfortable talking to a complete stranger, let them see you pick up the discarded item and throw it away.


Make it a group activity. Organize a team of friends, colleagues, club buddies, children, worship friends, sports team mates or any other social groupies.

Grab some latex gloves and a box of garbage bags. Go to a neighborhood or business district and spend one hour picking up litter.

Make a game of it. Pair up in different pairs than you would normally (no husband-wife teams). Try pairing based on initials or ages. See which team can come back with the most:

  • Fast food cups and wrappers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Plastic and glass bottles
  • Pieces of plastic
  • Shopping bags

When you get back together, go over a scavenger list to see if anyone found specific items:

  • A medium cup with lid attached and straw inserted
  • Pizza box from ____________
  • A piece of junk mail or a sale paper
  • A business card
  • Something bigger than a breadbox

Crown the winners who have the most things off the scavenger list!

Make it fun!

Enjoy the satisfaction of making a difference in your community. Get some exercise in the fresh air. Get to know someone better. Clean up part of your environment.


When was the last time you took part in a clean up? Is this form of community service degrading? Will you remember to bend at the knees and not the waist? Will you make a difference in your community?


© Red Dwyer 2012
Image Credits:
US Forestry Service
Wiki Commons
All images © to their respective owners.
Reblogging of this or any other post on
The M3 Blog is expressly forbidden.

Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office. 
Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. When I was a safety officer for the coast guard in a small PEI harbor, I lead these types of clean ups. Of course, growing up on air force bases, we weren’t subjected to open waste until our teenaged years, but until my back went kablooey, I was always active in the Spring Clean ups…

  2. authormjlogan

     /  February 9, 2012

    Good post Red. The amount of litter we pick up off our lawn weekly is disgusting.

    • Although the traffic on my road is atrocious, the majority of the litter in my yard belongs to my neighbors, whose dogs tear up their bags. The wind coming up the mountain redistributes it. Yay.

  3. This is another interesting post Red, as cleaning up our world is something positive that everyone should be adopting, and not just for ourselves, but for our wildlife also. I remember a documentary that was offered on television some time ago explaining the drastic consequences of discarding rubbish, and the horrendous plight that we as humans inflict on our wildlife, even down to those plastic ring holders attached to beer and lager cans can have a very serious impact, usually with wild birds such a seagulls becoming ensnared in them.

    Then there are all those abandoned fishing lines that kills ducks and swans, while loose netting through fishing kills dolphins, small whales, seals and…

    The list is quite endless really and the quantity of pollution that is created in and around our planet is unbelievable, we are the worst culprits for throwing away litter and worse, polluting wherever we go, through industry and a lack of caring of the atmosphere, pollutants such as vehicle exhaust gasses and the like. We are manufacturing a world of contamination right before our eyes and even the dropping of cigarette butts and other waste adds to the total disrespect of our planet, so any kind of assistance is favourable, and adds a bit of hope for the future…

    A great posting Red and thank you for your versatile and most creative offerings, they certainly give your reader base food for thought and that is definitely worthwhile my great friend 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • I am posting an expose, if you will, about the damage we do to marine life tomorrow. It ties in with this particular post. When I did the research for it, I was astounded and disgusted. Trash is something we can control if we choose to do so. I cannot understand how people can allow such much waste, in the first place, and then fail to do anything whatsoever about it.

      • Yes and the crazy ideas of manufacturers,
        all that plastic that is buried in land fills… All
        the carrier bags, diapers and so many other
        plastic cast offs that our earth is literally over-
        flowing with, it is quite unbelievable…

        I will look forward to your posting Red 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        • Oh, now see, you just pressed my hot button….plastic. Argh! I hate it. My children come home with the vile drinking vessels. I use them to scoop dirt until they are shattered and recycle them all. Ugh. This could be a 2,000 word rant, but I already have the post about it written 😛

      • I hope that this
        doesn’t seem cheesy…

        Way to go Momma 🙂 😉

        Androgoth XXx

  4. Smokers are the worst. Never met one who didn’t fling their butts wherever. (granted there may be some). I’m not for shooting people over it, but it’s not that hard to throw away or recycle stuff. good ideas.

    • You have official met one. I do not toss butts. Nor do I stick my butt out the window. I cannot count how many butts have been through the washing machine because they were in my pockets where I refused to toss them on the ground.

      • Where I live there is someone that throws their spent cigarettes over the fence into my back garden, of course I never actually catch them so I guess it is a little game that they are playing… Never mind though because you should see those big holes that I dig all over their lawn of an evening 🙂 It is those pesky moles from around these parts me thinks? Yes I am joking about that one Red, after all I am not that bad a neighbour, and even the Zombies are on their best behaviour, well only on Halloween Night 🙂

        Not all smokers are of the
        same breed thank goodness 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        • You may not be, but I could be! ROFL! I bag up the neighbor’s garbage in my yard and deliver it back to him. Of course, I deliver his dogs as well. His bitch likes to play with my dog even though it gets her in a vat of hot water.

          Now if I could catch the little worm making his living by tossing “free” papers and telephone directories in my yard…his vehicle would benefit from some “free” mechanical work. 😉


      • Yes I could help with that, you know a
        ripped out distributor here, a windscreen
        wiper blade there, and a dipstick…

        Oh that’s him or her isn’t it? 🙂

        Maybe there is a dumpster we
        could adopt for that scenario? lol

        Have a fun rest of evening Red
        it is time for a cuppa and a bikkie 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        • LOL! I am sure there is! Have an extra bikkie for me. And I do not mind if you dunk it 😉

      • That is excellent, as
        I do like to dunk 🙂 lol

        Yes I am going next 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

  5. Let’s help the environment. I really am astounded when I walk past litter on the roads and in parks. People, I mean really it’s not hard to take your wrappers to the garbage can!! Okay my rant is done, back to smiling hehe

    • It really truly is not, Christy. That is the shame of it. Every little bit helps when we pitch in to clean up.

  6. Great post Red!
    Litter is all around us (literally)..
    It’s up to each and every one of us to start cleaning up after ourselves and to raise awareness of the issue among people around us…

  1. Pick that up! « Momma's Money Matters | Marine Litter | Scoop.it
  2. The Green Mailbox « Momma's Money Matters
  3. The Green Mailbox | Momma's Money Matters
  4. Nurdles: It’s what’s for breakfast. | The M3 Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.