Trash Talk

Today is recycle day in my neighborhood. I have a large, wheeled bin where I put newspaper, plastic, aluminum cans, mixed paper, and cardboard. Every two weeks I roll it out to the street and an amazing truck automatically lifts the bin and empties it. 

On the night before recycle day, I do my litter walk. I take Lucy along and we walk about a mile, picking up trash that’s been discarded on the side of the street. Last night I filled a large bag, mostly with beer cans plus one beer bottle, one Pepsi can, an empty cigarette package, and a few candy wrappers.

Last year a class of students in Darien, Connecticut, who had read Small Steps, sent me a wonderful gift. It’s a “picker-upper,” one of those long handled devices with tong-like grips on the end, intended for reaching items on high shelves. The one the kids sent me is a gold color and it’s called a Golden Retriever. It’s a perfect name for a dog lover and I use it on my litter walks to retrieve cans that are thrown into the ditch, where it’s hard for me to reach them.

For many years before my area had curb-side recycling, I sorted the cans, paper, aluminum, etc. and took them to a recycling center. I still do that with glass, which isn’t allowed in my bin.  All of my friends recycle, too. It’s a way of life for those who want to conserve the Earth’s resources and I’m dismayed when I attend an event where no effort is made to separate recyclable items from the rest of the trash.

My semi-weekly litter walk is a small thing.  On the other hand, if everyone spent an hour every other week picking up litter in their neighborhood, our streets would look better, and if the cans and papers all got recycled, there would be a whole lot less trash in our land fills.