Even the cleanest neighborhoods and communities have the occasional litterbug. And when the wind picks up, well-placed trash still finds its way from the can to the gutter or curb. Here are a few simple ways you can make your town cleaner, while inspiring your neighbors to do the same.
Start with a clean slate.
As the organization, Keep Tennessee Beautiful explains, “Litter begets litter. Individuals are much more likely to litter into a littered environment. By contrast, a clean community discourages littering and improves overall community quality of life. Availability and proximity to trash and recycling receptacles also impact whether someone chooses to litter.” So if you see a rogue piece of trash on your morning walk, pick it up and throw it away.
Join the crowd.
Keep America Beautiful “envisions a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.” They also provide information and programs to help end littering, improve recycling and beautify your community. Over five million volunteers have helped make this organization a success. You can volunteer, too.
Teach them early.
Research shows that individuals under age 30 are more likely to litter than those who are older. In fact, age, and not gender, is a significant predictor of littering behavior. You can teach your children and their friends about litter, recycling and the importance of personal responsibility. By giving them a head start, they’ll not only be less likely to litter when they grow up, they’ll be more likely to pass this behavior on to the next generation.
Weigh in on the matter.
Several times each year, the alumni and students of UC Berkeley gather to clean up Strawberry Creek that runs through the middle of campus. You can organize a similar event in your area, for a park, or beach or any other area that needs attention. To make an even bigger impact, make it a competition, splitting volunteers into groups and having a weigh-off and a potluck at the end of the day, and award the group with the biggest haul.
Put pen to paper.
Everyone loves a good story. Do you know someone who goes out of his or her way to make your community cleaner and greener? Write about it and share it with your local news outlet. Inspiring stories of leadership by example can help give us all the extra nudge we need to make a difference.
Find more ways to create a cleaner world. Use keyword “environment.”