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Fighting litter is a year-round job
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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What if a million years ago, a caveman finished a soda and tossed the glass bottle on the ground? Well, chances are that if you visited that same spot today, the glass bottle still would be around.
Glass does not degrade rapidly, so when glass is improperly disposed of or it’s not recycled, it has a very long lifespan on this earth. What a waste!
Thank goodness the Neanderthals who have had the opportunity to litter have only been around the last few hundred years.
Even though our spring Great American Cleanup effort will wind down in the next few weeks, litter still will be with us all year. Fighting litter is a year-round job.
In addition to the spring cleanups, Keep Liberty Beautiful has fall Rivers Alive cleanups around the county. We also have an increasing number of families, groups and businesses that are adopting areas of our community.
All of these efforts help to reduce the annoying litter we see in our community, but there still are actions you can take every day to make a difference:
• Commit to picking up one piece of litter every day. The average person supposedly walks or drives by about 12,000 pieces of litter each day so it should not be hard to find a piece or two to pick up. With this one quick action, you could remove 365 pieces of litter a year. If a few thousand of us did this every day, the results could be pretty incredible.
• Set an example by not littering. Carry a litter bag in your car and hang onto litter until you find a garbage receptacle. Parents, set an example for your children. Children, set an example for your parents.
• Share with others — your family, your neighbors, your co-workers — the proper ways to dispose of litter.
• Make sure your trash cans have good-fitting lids so litter cannot fall or blow out. If you transport garbage or recyclable items to solid-waste convenience centers for disposal, make sure your bags are tied off and that bags and containers are secure in your vehicle. More than 60 percent of litter is a result of unsecured loads. You can make a difference just by using a tarp on your truck. By the way, it also is the law.
• Ask your neighbors to join you in cleaning up one area in your community where litter accumulates. Adopting an area can help reduce the amount of litter because people do litter less in areas that are well-maintained.
• Encourage groups — such as civic clubs, youth groups, sports teams and church groups — to become involved in cleanup and recycling projects. Have your group adopt a spot and maintain it on a regular basis.
• Look for ways to beautify your neighborhood and community. Neighborhoods that are maintained and attractive usually are safer.
• In your workplace, make sure that there are an adequate number of containers for garbage disposal. Make sure that designated smoking areas have receptacles for cigarette butts, too. Cigarette butts can take from two to 20 years to decompose. They also are a disgusting litter problem. Keep Liberty Beautiful has a limited number of free portable cigarette butt ashtrays for smokers who will commit to using them.
• In your workplace, consider setting up recycling containers for recyclable items, like plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard. Also, make sure the tops and side doors of business Dumpsters are closed properly so that litter cannot fall or blow out.
• At community and sports events, look for containers to dispose of snack wrappers and drink containers. Don’t just throw them on the ground. Where did we ever get the idea that that is OK?
We can all do something to make the world— our world — a cleaner and brighter place to live. There are many ways each of us can help make our community cleaner all year long. Fighting litter is a year-round job.
But the good news is we are winning the fight. With every cleanup, we are collecting less litter in regular cleanup areas. Keep up the fight!
Mark your calendar for these upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events:
• 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 26: KLB volunteer appreciation at the Mills House in Hinesville. RSVP by calling 880-4888 or email for information.
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 4: Recycle It! Fair for collecting electronics, batteries, fluorescents, paint and other household goods for recycling or reuse. For information, call Keep Liberty Beautiful.

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