Word of the Week: environmentalist - noun - (hear it!) - a person who works to protect the natural world from pollution and other threats.

Trash Into Treasure(d Family Memories)


Yeah, you.


Closer . . . closer . . . closerrrr . . .


Yeah, that’s right—trash talk. And you ain’t gonna stop me.

* * *
Human beings are the most disgusting creatures on this planet.

There. I’ve said it. And in public.

Now, before anyone gets “up in arms” over my declaration with: “Oi! I ain’t no disgustin’ creature!” allow me to follow it up with: I understand not everyone’s disgusting. In fact, many sparkling clean people dot this world with their wonderfully soapy goodness. And they smell good, too.

But! That’s totally not what I’m getting at. No. I’m referring to those icky habits (← Trash talk.), the ones that oh-so-delicately “decorate” our roadsides with the grossest, most putrid, awful junk imaginable. (← See? Trash talk.)

That’s right, I’m talking about . . . ROADSIDE LITTER. [cue dramatic music here because of the ALL CAPS]

“Hang on,” you say. “What’s roadside litter got to do with writing?”

Nothing. Nada. Nix. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

But it’s just an issue I care as deeply about as writing, and this past Spring, I’d decided to stop complaining—because that gets us nowhere—and started actually doing—because that gets us everywhere! (Including on trips and nice little outings. More on this later.)

So, what do I do?

I REVERSE LITTER! Mwahahahahahaha! That’s right! Instead of tossing a beer can out the car window (← More trash talk.), I actually PICK it UP off the ground, and PUT it INTO a GARBAGE BAG! *gasp* Instead of flicking spent cigarette butts through the air (← Yes, more trash talk.), I actually PLUCK them OUT of LEAVES, and PUT them INTO GARBAGE BAGS! *shudder* (Yes, with gloves, and no, I don’t pick up broken glass.)

But, in all seriousness . . . roadside litter is a major problem everywhere across my state, across my country, across the entire world, it seems. In just six months alone, I’ve collected over a thousand recyclable cans and bottles, and bagged up at least 20+ bags of trash . . . and that’s only from FIVE ROADS in my immediate vicinity.

What do I collect? Here, I’ll give you a run-down, from least to most (Wow, lots of trash talk!):

Bits and pieces of random plastics/plastic bags
Chewing tobacco containers/clothing bits
Napkins/paper towels/cardboard/styrofoam
Plastic/foam coffee cups and lids
Fast food bags and wrappers/cups, lids
Small and large plastic/glass liquor bottles
Empty cigarette packs
Soda cans and (water) bottles
Beer cans and bottles
Spent cigarette butts

Remember: LEAST to MOST.

Now, take a look at the last six items I collect most from my neighborhood roadsides . . . all of which involve smoking, drinking, or consuming fast food. Hmm . . . think about that one. And you know, I laughed so hard when I read what someone had once written: “New England’s roadsides are the cleanest I’ve ever seen!”

Ha! Yeah, right. I have 1,000+ recyclable cans and bottles, and 20+ bags of thrown-away garbage that say otherwise.

So, who does this? Who knows? Only those who actually litter know. And it’s downright disgusting that they treat our beautiful world like their personal landfill.

Come, take a look at this to give you an idea of how disgusting this is. These things are sitting ON OUR ROADSIDES. Who wants to walk, ride a bike, or drive down a road and see this, knowing some random piece of trash won’t biodegrade for 800 years?


But! Like I said, I’d decided to stop grousing and do something positive, and guess what? With the money I’d collected from recycling cans and bottles people oh-so carelessly threw out their car windows, I’d treated my family to a nice day-outing to one of our local state park attractions.

Did it pay for the whole trip? Certainly not. But next year I’ll aim higher. Collect more. Recycle more. Do the environment even more good. Because you know what? Someone has care about our environment.

Thus and so, I’ve proudly joined the ranks of those intrepid, environmental-conscious people who make time—nay, go out of their way—to keep their world clean. And I do hope more people will decide to take the initiative. If we all pulled our weight, think of how much cleaner our world would be!

Oh yes, and one more thing: I’ve seen some pretty odd things during my collections.

Grossest? Dirty diapers.

Weirdest? A couch, a headless chicken, and a trout.

Yes. A headless chicken. And a trout.

Go figure.

1 comment:

  1. There are way too many thoughtless people walking the planet today that really don't give a damn about the consequences of their actions.