If you are one of those neighbors who shares your litter, your neighbors probably have some secrets they wish you knew.
Most of us appreciate neighbors who share their tools or a cup of sugar now and then, but sharing trash is a different story. I have this theory that people who litter really don’t think that those around them care about litter, either. Sorry, all you litterbugs out there — you might be surprised at the secret thoughts that your neighbors have about you! Whether you are a “tosser” or what they call an “unintentional litterer” who lets trash just accidentally blow out of your vehicle, your neighbors have something to say. Listen up!
• A next-door neighbor: “Keep your filth to yourself. Don’t share it with us. We don’t want it. Put your garbage in the garbage can and close the top! Clean up after yourself so others don’t have to. Your yard is a mess. Nobody wants litter (garbage) all over the place, blowing around.”
• Another neighbor: “Who wants to live in a garbage dump? Just because you do doesn’t mean that we do. Try some basic sanitation, would you? We would like to live in a clean neighborhood?”
• A neighbor down the street: “Littering is pathetic — it drives me crazy! You are ruining our street!! Who do you think picks up the litter that you leave on our road?”
• A neighbor on the side of the road almost hit by the soda can you tossed out: “What is so hard about putting trash in a garbage can? I do not like people that litter and my question is: Why are you so lazy???”
• Neighbor on a dirt road a few miles away: “I hate litter. People come on our road and dump their junk or tires on the side of the road to avoid dump fees. What jerks!!!”
• A neighbor in your county: “I think people who are caught littering should have to pick up litter for community service! That way, the guilty are the ones who have to help solve the problem and pay for it, too, with hefty fines.”
• A neighbor who is a litter cleanup volunteer: “Litter cleanup volunteers are stuck in a difficult position: They have to clean up others’ garbage if they want a clean environment because if they don’t, their environment won’t be clean. Anti-littering people have no retaliation against those who litter, except to clean up after them. You throw it on the ground, I pick it up. It’s clean. You throw it on the ground, I pick it up. It’s clean again … until you put more litter on the ground. The problem never gets under control because of your lazy actions!”
• A former date who could have been more than a neighbor: “The date went great, until you tossed that cigarette butt on the sidewalk. What a loser!”
• A neighbor in the car behind you on the highway: “Hey, clueless! That truck of yours is not a garbage can! Aren’t you smart enough to realize that the trash you toss in the back of your truck is not there anymore when you get to your location? It is not rocket science. Get a trash bag and secure your trash in your truck.”
• A neighbor on a nearby creek: ‘” Oh, look! Your litter ends up in our waterways! Gee, thanks!”
• A resident who lives in the same town: “Littering is common, but why does it happen? It must be that people who litter — like you — just don’t care. That’s the only conclusion that I can come, but you are trashing your own community. That is something I don’t understand ... Who wants to live in a trash-filled environment? I guess you do.”
• Your best neighbor buddy: “OK, OK, I know you think that you don’t litter. But somebody who looks exactly like you does ... You are trashing our neighborhood. Not cool, man.”
If you are not the “litterbug neighbor,” you may have had these same thoughts. I know it may not be easy to confront your neighbor in person about littering, so let me save you the trouble. Send this article to your guilty neighbor. I think he or she will get the message!