I recently read that half of all trash on the roadsides comes from someone intentionally littering. The other half is unintentional, meaning that it flies out of a pickup or gets blown down the street from a trash can that’s too full or something like that. What this means is that a good many of us are unintentionally creating work for someone else. Someone has to go pick up that trash that you accidentally left behind because you didn’t properly secure a load on the way to the dump or couldn’t be bothered to chase down that receipt that blew out of your hands.
There are in life really only two options in every situation. Whether we’re talking about walking into a room full of people or simply walking down the street, we are always making the choice to either be a blessing or to be a burden.
Choosing to be a blessing means that your presence leaves the situation better than it was. If you’re staying overnight at a friend’s house, the fact that you helped out by loading the dishwasher means that you lessened the burden. You chose to lighten their load by being a blessing.
Not choosing to be a blessing means that you chose to be a burden instead. Someone else had to work harder than they would have if you hadn’t been there. Instead of helping lighten the load, you increased it.
As someone who is part of a road cleanup crew, I can tell you that half of all the litter on our roadsides is still a lot of litter. Doing road cleanup would be a whole lot easier if there were only half as much trash out there.
How can we be a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem? We can start by making sure we aren’t unintentionally littering for starters. Make sure the lids are on your trash cans properly and that they're not overflowing, clean out the back of your pickup (you know that loose stuff will blow away so don’t put it in there to start), and pick up that receipt you dropped.
We can go a step further and pick up litter that isn’t ours. You know you need to get out and walk more often anyway, so take a trash bag with you and pick up the trash around your neighborhood. A little at a time makes a big difference.
And, by the way, if you’re one of those who intentionally litters, maybe just start being a blessing to your community by waiting to dispose of your trash till you get home or to a gas station; and if you’re a smoker, try taking your butts with you and disposing of them properly because they take a long time to decompose and encourage others to litter as well.
Thanks, we all appreciate it!
Rob Vajko lives in Purdy.
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