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Put litter in trash, stay off Santa's naughty list
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Sara Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

The holiday season is full of wonderful magical delights, but unfortunately, it is also full of trash.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, accumulate over 25 percent more trash each year. And sadly, many Americans that are going to turn up on Santa’s Naughty List leave a lot of that trash on the highways each year.

I firmly believe that if Santa can fly his sleigh all over the world in one night and not leave a lick of trash anywhere, that we can make sure our extra trash is disposed of responsibly during the next few weeks.

It is just a few weeks before Christmas, so you are going to have to ramp up your game to stay off the naughty list.

Santa may wear a red suit and drive a sleek red sleigh, but he is 100 percent "green" at heart. Here are some of his tips for every good little boy and girl - no matter how old - to keep our roads and waterways litter-free.

First thing, corral your litter in your vehicle. Don’t just toss it anywhere. Were you raised in a reindeer barn? Get a litter bag or two if you need them from Keep Liberty Beautiful Or if you are really trashy, get a kitchen garbage bag to toss your trash in the car.

If you smoke - and I hope you don’t - please do not toss those butts out the window when you are in driving. Yuck!!

If you have to smoke, do not share your nasty cigarette litter with everyone else. There are pocket ashtrays and portable car ashtray cups to use inside your vehicle and when you are out and about Christmas shopping.

If you need some, just contact Santa’s friends at Keep Liberty Beautiful or check out one of their Cigarette Litter Awareness Days on Dec. 16 at the main gate for Fort Stewart.

At home make sure your trash cans have good-fitting lids so litter cannot fall or blow out. All of those holiday decorations and lights on your house will not be enhanced by a trashy yard and street area because you let your trash fall or blow everywhere from your garbage can.

I am also sure there is a research study somewhere proving that trashy homeowners get fewer presents from their neighbors each Christmas, so keep it clean.

If you drive a truck, let me clue you in: the truck bed is not a trash can. Also although I do believe in magic, let me share the cold, hard facts with you:

Every time you toss that beer can or other debris in the back of your truck, don’t think that it has been magically taken by the elves when you get to your destination and the trash is gone. You have just littered – not decorated – our roadways with your trash.

It does not take brains to figure this out: use a trash bag and secure trash you are transporting to a Solid Waste Convenience Center.

And while I am on the subject, those of you, whether you are frightened husbands or naughty teenagers who toss out their beer cans before they get home so your wife or parents do not catch you - I see you. - Don’t you know who you are dealing with? "I see you when you’re sleeping, I know when you’re awake. I know if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for heaven’s sake!"

Over half of our local litter problem is caused by litter from unsecured loads. You are going to end up on the coal list.

And if you really have been bad this year and need extra credit to move up a few notches on the good list, here are a few ideas:

Pick up one piece of litter every day. Particularly, pick up litter around storm drain sewers. Anything going in these goes directly to our waterways. Polluting waterways is really high up on Santa’s bad list.

Remind others - your family, your neighbors, your co-workers - the proper ways to dispose of litter does not include tossing it out of a vehicle window.

Ask your neighbors to join you in cleaning up one area in your community where litter accumulates. ‘Adopting’ that area can help reduce the amount of litter because people do litter less in areas that are maintained and that appear to be adopted by people that care.

These activities guarantee you a positive place on Santa’s list.

Treating the Earth like it is one big trash can was never what God intended for his world, so let’s give our environment a huge Christmas present by keeping it clean this holiday season. Santa will love you for it.

Make every day a litter-free holiday with Keep Liberty Beautiful. Contact us at

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