Short answer: because they realize they are complicit and want what plastic provides.
Picking up litter every day, I find almost not one type of trash comprises things I buy. Nearly all is doof, mostly beverage bottles and can, takeout, chips, coffee cups, wrappers, and such. I buy or consume none of them. There’s plenty of packaging from Amazon, doof purveyors, retail bags, and more things I don’t buy. Cigarettes, other smoking things, and yet more things I don’t buy.
As the weather warms and people consume more doof, the trash cans overflow earlier in the day, and people are too addicted to stop buying even when they see the cans full. Instead of holding on to their garbage until they can find a place to put it, they pile it on top of the pile in the can, put it on the ground beside the can, or just stick it in some corner, in a drain, in the curb, or some other disgusting place that will only reach the ocean.
Why people complain so little about litter
I’ve mostly lost touch why people don’t pick up litter even though I’ve only seen three or four of the hundreds of thousands I’ve probably passed on the street pick up others’ litter, but I can sort of still get it. But why don’t people at least express some disgust at the poisonous garbage polluting our world and bloodstreams, lowering our sperm counts and increasing our birth defects?
How can everyone litter, yet nearly no one complain?
Then it hit me. At first I thought everyone doing it meant everyone was aware so would feel motivated to care. No, everyone doing it meant everyone is complicit.
Being complicit means at least two things. One: they know they are helping drive the system that creates the poisonous garbage. They feel guilty for hurting people for their pleasure.
Two: they’re worried about their supply. If we banned disposable coffee cups, they’d miss out on their fix.
Nearly everyone causes the problem so feels guilty at hurting others and shame at wanting to continue.
It’s sad to see how helpless they must feel. They can’t criticize others polluting since they do it too; even if they don’t drop litter on the ground, they help pay to manufacture the garbage. They must be mired in guilt and shame
A way out
The way out of guilt, shame, powerlessness, and hopefulness is to act. If you buy doof, buy things you don’t need, or nearly anything online, you can quit the guilt and shame by acting. Admit the addiction at least to yourself or you’ll never make meaningful change.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees