This summer has been great! We hope you got out with your family and friends and enjoyed some of the best that the outdoors has to offer here in Hendricks County. It is so important to get to know nature in our backyards, neighborhoods, county, state and country so we develop the sense of ownership that is so important when we are talking about things like not littering and recycling. We are far more likely to pay attention to where we put our trash when we know the river that it could end up in or the animal that might accidentally ingest it.
Litter is defined as trash that is not in its place and can come from many different sources. Commonly littered items include things like plastic shopping bags that are like kites on a windy day, cigarette butts, wrappers, bottles and cans.
Luckily, most places we visit have trash cans, recycling bins and ash trays. So, there aren’t many excuses left for littering on purpose. “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!”
But not all litter comes from someone who has carelessly thrown a piece of trash out the window of the car or left picnic trash behind. Sometimes things can accidentally blow out of a trash can or recycling bin, or even out of the back of a trash truck.
So, what should you do?
· Have a plan for your trash. If you are going on a picnic, road trip or outdoor event, know where the recycling bins and trash cans are. If none are available, be prepared with a plastic bag, place your trash items in it and take them home to be disposed of properly.
· Secure your trash can lid and recyclables. Making sure your trash can lid is secure on windy days and that your recyclables are weighed down will go a long way toward keeping trash in its place. Items like six-pack rings, yogurt cups, and grocery bags are especially dangerous to wildlife that can get caught in them or mistake them for food. Clip all six-pack rings with scissors, flatten yogurt cups, and take grocery bags back to the stores to be recycled.
· If you see litter, pick it up. Litter gives the impression that no one cares and unfortunately, as a result, will attract more litter.
· Biodegradables are not okay to litter either. Biodegradables thrown out of vehicles onto a roadside cause trouble for wildlife. Rodents are attracted to the litter, birds of prey are attracted to the rodents and then are often struck by vehicles while hunting along the road.
Here are some quick litter fact from Keep America Beautiful. Litter is a real problem and here’s why:
· Litter cleanup costs the U.S. $11.5 billion annually
· Litter in a community decreases property values by 7%
· Want more information? Visit KAB.org