This habit first began when my children wanted to earn a little money. They collected cans and bottles and other recyclables and turned them in for cash. There aren’t many options for young kids to earn a dollar so I felt this was a good one. If we found treasures when we were out and about we put them in a carton I kept in the car and hauled them home. My kids were good at spotting cans and bottles and soon they had a nice nest egg for their efforts. While they were hunting for cans and bottles, I began collecting trash and depositing it in the nearest receptacle or adding to a pile that would be thrown out when we got home.
I’d like to think that in a small way I was contributing to the cleanliness of my community. I also rationalized that I was getting a little extra exercise when I bent down to pick up the litter that always seemed to be out there. Even when my children had long given up their collecting as they moved on to babysitting and paper routes, I continued. Once started, I have never stopped. Oh sure, there are days now when the back talks to me and bending doesn’t feel so good but I want to continue as long as I can and so far I am managing.
Sometimes I wonder about litter. Who dropped it? Why couldn’t the people who dropped it take it to a garbage can instead? It never ceases to amaze me that the litter issue is a constant problem. Didn’t we create litterbags for our cars? Install trash cans on our sidewalks? And when will the smokers wake up and recognize that their butts are litter and need to be discarded in a proper receptacle rather than the ground? I still can’t figure why smokers smoke but that is a different topic.
When will each and every one of us take responsibility for patrolling their property – their house, their car, their work, their school, and the public sidewalks they use and do the small, simple task of collecting whatever litter is out there.
Maybe my pipedream for a squeaky clean world will never be realized. Nonetheless I continue to do as much as possible and hope that you will too. Please don’t litter and take an active role in removing litter. Just think - Our parks would be pretty and our streets would stay clean. I guess it has been my habit for so long that without giving it much thought it became the renewable New Year’s resolution.
These days I rarely walk with my husband. The children are busy working and the grandchildren are studying or playing sports. It is just me and the dogs (though not the same ones from 40 years ago). Sometimes I wonder how many pounds of trash I have picked up over the years…….. or who will care?