Litter is costly, damaging, and expensive, and it’s a much bigger problem than most people believe. Each year, up to $11 billion is spent to clean up litter when in most cases, it could’ve been prevented by walking two more feet to a trash can. It also has a serious environmental impact on ecosystems and the wildlife that call this planet home too. Plastics, textiles, and other non-degradable materials can be extremely hazardous to animals across the globe. In America alone, the average person disposes of 82 pounds of textile waste every year and thousands of pounds of miscellaneous garbage. Oftentimes these materials don’t even make it to a trash bin and go straight to the side of the road.
Seeing someone litter can be extremely disturbing to the many people who take pride in their community, their earth, or simply have a sense of right and wrong.
So why do they do it? Why do people litter? There can be a variety of reasons, including:
- They don’t take pride in their community;
- They may not respect the notion of public parks and places built for public use;
- They believe that someone will pick it up for them (a municipal worker, concerned pedestrian, property owner, etc.);
- They don’t believe there are any consequences to littering, or that they won’t be reprimanded;
- Littering is more convenient than proper disposal;
- Litter is already too big of an issue for just one person to change by throwing their garbage out correctly.
These attitudes and beliefs create a cyclical pattern that makes it difficult for any true progress to be made in this endeavor. For every one piece of litter that may be cleaned up, 10 more will be created.
Additionally, if you live in a city or on a major road, then you’ve probably had to clean up litter from your very own property. As frustrating as it is, it becomes your responsibility to clean up. Nobody wants their property to be covered in trash, especially if they make an effort to maintain it. A majority (69%) of homeowners use their backyard and outdoor spaces for relaxing, and having trash floating about isn’t typically therapeutic. Most of the time you probably never saw someone actually do the littering, it just appeared on your front lawn.
In cases in which you suspect your neighbor or someone else of repeatedly littering on your property, there are actions you can take to stop them.
Talk to them
Sometimes a simple conversation can do wonders. Let the person know directly that you’re aware that they’re purposefully littering on your property and that you’d like them to stop immediately. This can be the best-case scenario in some instances and can have a quick resolution. Although, if the littering continues, then you should speak to them again. This time, however, you should be more forceful (not rude, though) in your demands and state that if it continues, you will involve the police.
Call the police
If talking to them did not relieve the situation then your next step should be to actually go ahead and call the police. Many states have littering penalties and will cite littering as a fineable crime. Even if your state doesn’t have a littering law, you can still involve the police to resolve the conflict.
Install Security Cameras
Oftentimes, the police will need actual evidence of the person littering on your property before they can cite them. Otherwise, it’s your word against theirs, and it can be difficult to prove. So installing some security cameras could be a great way to not only protect your home but to catch the litterer in the act.
With any luck, you’ll get people to stop littering on your property.
Convincing others to stop littering is the first step to cleaning up the waste problem on this planet. Consider talking to your friends and family about taking steps to correct their waste disposal habits and voice your concerns to your community. The only way for progress to be made is for someone to first make progress themselves.