Littering is a problem that goes way back and still isn’t fully resolved today. Unfortunately, many people and establishments still have a long way to go when it comes to discipline and awareness of littering. Even if you consume an eco-friendly product, if you don’t throw it away responsibly, it still goes into the dumpsite in a big pile.
That’s why we wrote about the different ways to stop littering to help you do your small part to the environment. After all, littering has many bad effects – from harming wildlife to causing floods to worsen in cities. Let’s learn about the various ways you can lessen your likelihood of littering in your daily life:
- 1 1. Garbage Security
- 2 2. Recycle Items
- 3 3. Keep Your Trash With You
- 4 4. Use Reusable Bags
- 5 5. Limit Your Purchases
- 6 6. Provide Plenty of Trash Bins
- 7 7. Educate Others
- 8 8. Maintain Plants and Flowers
- 9 9. Create “No Littering” Signs
- 10 10. Encourage Business to Place Trash Cans
- 11 11. Consider Sustainable Packaging
- 12 12. Go for Reusable Food Containers
- 13 13. Lessen Consumption of Single-Use Items
- 14 14. Accessible Ashtrays
- 15 15. Clean Up After Your Pet
- 16 16. Create Fun Games
- 17 17. Online Information Campaign
- 18 18. Report Litterbugs
- 19 19. Join Clean-up Drives
- 20 20. Order Items in Bulk
1. Garbage Security
Stray dogs and cats are often lurking around garbage cans looking for food. We can’t blame them because it’s their nature to hunt for something to eat without anyone feeding them. However, to avoid causing a littering problem, garbage security is something you should focus on.
Consider keeping a garbage bin that’s well-sealed so that your pets won’t easily topple them over. Investing in a well-designed garbage bag will help keep the trash intact so that when it reaches the dumpsite, it won’t cause unnecessary littering in the streets.
2. Recycle Items
A classic way of preventing littering is to recycle items. The simplest way you can recycle is by keeping plastic bottles, caps, and the like and turning them into recycled projects, such as plant pots, artworks, office supplies, and the like.
Recycling items have the following benefits:
- Recycling lessens fuel and energy needed for manufacturing
- Less carbon goes into the atmosphere with less manufacturing
- With carbon reduction, the greenhouse effect will be minimized
- Global warming will also lessen without many greenhouse gases
When you recycle, you give an item a new purpose instead of being thrown away. This puts companies under less pressure on producing new items, especially packaging.
3. Keep Your Trash With You
Travelers are often at fault when it comes to litter found in parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The simple act of keeping your trash with you at all times until you find a garbage bin is something that not everyone does, but it helps the environment.
If your trash simply can’t be kept inside your bag if you don’t have bag, look for the nearest trash bin. Many people are so busy with their lives that they forget the importance of not littering, which ends up being a hazard to wildlife and water systems. When sewages get clogged, the result is a worse flood.
4. Use Reusable Bags
When shopping in a grocery store or anywhere else, always make sure to bring a reusable bag, especially if the store is on a plastic ban. Limiting single-use plastics will help reduce landfill pollution and waste that goes into the sea.
Consider bringing an eco-friendly bag every single time you go to the mall or store. If possible, look for eco-bags that have a lot of space inside so you don’t have to carry multiple bags at the same time, which adds to hassle. Fortunately, many stores and fast-food chains put their items in sustainable packaging – reusable bags, especially for take-out.
5. Limit Your Purchases
We all know how difficult it is to not overspend on anything, especially if we just got past payday. However, by limiting your purchases, you can:
- Lessen the raw materials needed to produce items
- No longer worry about excessive items going into the trash
- Save up on fuel consumption and lessen traffic pollution
- Lessen the need to produce shopping bags and packaging
Many people like to splurge on items that they don’t need while companies like to bait them using sales, especially clearance sales. All those buy-1-take-1 deals aren’t always a good deal since some of them are probably items nearing their expiration or items you simply don’t need.
To avoid excessively purchasing anything, make a list of what you need at the moment. Only include the items that you want to have and focus on those. When you have extra cash (and space in the bag), that’s when you can order extras.
6. Provide Plenty of Trash Bins
To help lessen the laziness of people, putting a lot of trash bins will keep them from making the excuse that there isn’t an area to throw their trash away.
If you’re a business establishment, make sure to keep the trash bin easily accessible yet secured. Always empty it as you do with your trash bin at home to encourage people to keep throwing their trash in the right place.
For vehicles, especially public vehicles or carpooling, consider putting a small trash bin to help the riders and customers keep themselves from littering. And of course, keep the trash bin secured throughout the trip.
7. Educate Others
Educating others will help in lessening the littering problem. Here’s what you can do:
- Talk to your family and friends about the dangers of littering to animals and wildlife
- Take pictures of areas with garbage and littering problems and post them online
- Set an example by keeping your trash with you or throwing it into the right bin
By educating other people, you’re encouraging them to become part of the solution. If they see a good example, they’ll copy it. This is especially true if you’re educating your children and youngsters – a little environmental lesson goes a long way.
8. Maintain Plants and Flowers
People are less likely to throw the trash into the sidewalk or streets if they notice beautiful flowers, fruits, or anything that’s a marvel of nature. If you have annoying neighbors who keep dumping such garbage within your vicinity, try planting some daisies, tulips, sunflowers, or whatever flower you like.
By maintaining plants in the area, you’re not only discouraging people to throw the trash into that spot but you’re also helping to lessen the carbon dioxide in the air. Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide that’s harmful to humans and release oxygen in return.
9. Create “No Littering” Signs
While we know that this isn’t effective, it still pays to put such signs in public areas to somehow evoke a sense of responsibility towards people. Or, if you live in an area with local ordinances on littering, your government officials might also put something like a “$1,000 fine for littering” to scare people off. Putting a CCTV (even a dummy one) will also do the trick.
If this doesn’t work well, you can put some thought-evoking poster, such as a whale or turtle filled with plastic garbage. Or, you can always resort to the plants and flowers method mentioned above.
10. Encourage Business to Place Trash Cans
As mentioned above, you can talk to your local businesses to put trash cans around their vicinity, especially if the business is a high-traffic area with lots of people frequently going day in and day out. Have them place the trash cans strategically to help people become less lazy in throwing the garbage.
Aside from placing trash cans, they should also employ waste segregation and put easy-to-read text rather than simply “biodegradable and non-biodegradable”, such as “paper”, “plastic”, “soda cans”, “electronics”, etc.
11. Consider Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging uses recycled materials so it’s a great way to help save the environment from utter destruction. Here are ways that sustainable packaging helps the environment:
- Uses fewer fossil fuels
- Certain materials will have an extended lifespan
- Oceans and marine life will be safe
- Better energy efficiency
- Reduces the usage and consumption of natural resources
- Less environmental and toxic waste
Examples of sustainable packaging include paper and recycled cardboard. If the item is very delicate and needs to be packaged with plastics, sustainable packaging would be in the form of recycled plastic materials.
12. Go for Reusable Food Containers
A reusable food container is not only colorful but also eco-friendly. When buying or keeping food, reusable containers will help reduce our usage of plastic and become less likely to get thrown away easily, provided that they are durable and well-taken care of.
If you want the best reusable container for food, we consider stainless steel to be the most sound choice. Although it’s expensive, it’s about as good as your kitchen utensils and will serve you for a long time with proper care.
13. Lessen Consumption of Single-Use Items
This may include straws and utensils that come from your food takeout or delivery. If you want to save the environment, consider lessening the consumption of these items and resort to reusable types instead. For example, look for stainless steel straws and BPA-free containers for drinks.
When in doubt, bring reusable items with you so that you can eat and drink with ease in an emergency. This prevents single-use items from thoroughly polluting the streets and the dumpsite.
14. Accessible Ashtrays
Cigarette butts are a common litter problem that may even resort to accidents like fires. To avoid such inconveniences and damages to the environment, having an accessible ashtray anywhere will help smokers to put the light out easily. In vehicles, having a portable ashtray also helps.
15. Clean Up After Your Pet
When your dog or cat does business, that counts as littering since you’re letting waste material into the open. Always clean up after your pet, especially in a public place. It’s more than just courtesy and respect but also a great way to lessen irresponsible litter in a community.
16. Create Fun Games
Teaching kids how to not litter in the form of a fun game will help them to get used to the act. Try turning your child’s trash bin into a basketball hoop to see just how much they can score. You can also play a fun game of sorting the trash into different types for waste segregation.
Many stores also sell trash cans with fun designs so that your little ones will become more encouraged to throw their garbage in the right place and not litter around.
17. Online Information Campaign
Social media information campaigns, such as infographics and documentaries, will help spread awareness to counteract littering problems. By doing this, you’ll help the authorities to minimize litterbugs around your area and the rest of the world.
18. Report Litterbugs
Government officials should always be on the lookout for litterbugs. With today’s technology, CCTVs will instantly record people who are dumping their trash everywhere – and they should be responsible for it.
19. Join Clean-up Drives
A clean-up drive is a fun activity for the family and the school, as well as any community. These are often done at the beach where shorelines are often filled with unnecessary trash left by irresponsible humans. This will help spread awareness of how plastics and other toxic garbage destroy marine life. By joining a clean-up drive, you are supporting a movement towards a cleaner and greener environment.
20. Order Items in Bulk
Retail items in small parts, such as sachets of shampoos and conditioners, are more likely to cause littering compared to purchasing a big bottle. While we know that not everyone could afford such big bottles, think of it as an investment to help lessen the waste material and resources created into these small little sachets. These sachets are only advisable for emergency use, such as for camping and traveling.
In the same way, ordering and shopping both online and on-site in bulk help limit the traffic outside. Your delivery courier won’t have to go back and forth to deliver items if you just went shopping in one go. Sure, your bank balance won’t look so pretty, but in the long run, you’re saving the courier good amounts of gasoline and you won’t have to pay excessive shipping fees.
So, if you have extra cash, we advise you to just order everything you need from a grocery store or online. This saves valuable transportation fuel, as well as time and effort for the seller, courier, and the consumer.
Name: Rebecca Tarvin
Discipline: Integrative biology
Degrees: B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2010; Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin,2017
Rebecca Tarvin is broadly interested in integrating studies of natural history with molecular genomics and phylogenetics. Specifically, she aims to elucidate causal genetic mechanisms underlying novel traits, characterize phenotypic diversification at macro and micro-evolutionary scales, and identify factors that promote and constrain biodiversity.
She also likes to write about eco-friendly lifestyle and other material alternatives that are eco-friendly, aside from other ways to save Mother Earth