How much litter should you pick up?

August 25, 2021 by Joshua
in Choosing/Decision-Making, Nature, SIDCHAs

There’s litter everywhere. I pass maybe thousands of pieces daily. You may live in a place with a lower population density, but probably as much litter per person.

I pick up a dozen or so pieces each day, leaving most of it. That means I pass most without picking it up. I’m not doing it for my health or to solve the problem. I do it because it feels right. Maybe it would feel right to you. I don’t know.

I feel good about picking up what litter I do and bad about what litter I pass without picking it up. Sometimes I mentally justify why I don’t pick up some pieces. I generally think, “I don’t have to pick up any.”

What’s the right number of pieces of litter to pick up daily for you?

I don’t feel compelled to pick up everything, but I’m going to pick up something. I’m not going to pick up nothing. My rule for myself about other people’s litter (which it all is) is: “If I didn’t cause it, pick it up anyway.” I find that outlook improves life.

Overflowing trash can

As best I can tell, picking up litter voluntarily makes me a minority of nearly one person.

Is your right number of pieces of litter to pick up per day zero? Only you know your answer. How many if not zero?

Before 2017, I almost never picked up litter. Once I started, in part by stopping caring who littered or if I would save the world alone, I couldn’t go back. I can’t imagine not picking up a bunch of litter daily. I can’t believe more people don’t pick up litter.

I know I’m only moving waste around, not reducing the amount of it. Still, some may make it to a landfill instead of the ocean right away, though it will eventually reach the ocean, even if it stops in a landfill for a century. I expect sea levels will rise to flood enough landfills that most litter will float to sea, possibly within our lifetimes. If we can’t keep oceans from flooding our cities, how will we keep them out of our landfills?

Answer: we won’t. Our best solution remains to leave the pollution in the ground.

Picking up litter motivates me not to buy what might become litter, mostly doof and other packaging. The practice changes my behavior to seeing doof as disgusting.

How much litter do you pick up? How much should you pick up?

I doubt the answer right for you is zero. What’s your right answer? Do you pick up and dispose of that number of pieces of waste daily?

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1 response to “How much litter should you pick up?

  1. Pingback: See the Daily Show’s segment on me: “Is it Possible to Live “Off the Grid” in Manhattan?” » Joshua Spodek

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