How can littering be stopped? Surely you know the naughtiness of some people who simply leave their waste, such as cigarette butts, ToGo wrappers or beverage bottles, in public places or throw them away. Sometimes out of thoughtlessness and ignorance - but often deliberately and under the cover of anonymity. The consequences cannot be overlooked and are far more than just aesthetic. Stench, vermin, reduced habitat quality, animal suffering and, last but not least, expensive disposal services at the taxpayer's expense.
In this article, I would like to give you 10 tips that will help you Littering in our society. Use them to live more waste-free yourself - but above all, pass them on to other people.
10 tips against littering that everyone can implement
Why you should stop littering? The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety pays German cities and municipalities around 700 million euros a year to rid public places of discarded litter!₁ Whether on beaches, in parks, at highway rest stops or in parking lots - litter is everywhere. We know that Plastic waste in the environment to the biggest environmental problems of our time counts. Nevertheless, some people walk around with the belief that others will clean up after them. But we are not here in our own children's room, where mom will fix it already. We are in the public space where all people and animals suffer the consequences of littering.
Here are some tips you can use to make sure that you yourself, and many other people as well, are live more sustainably and be more conscious of waste. Let's go!
1. heed the Zero Waste basic rules
Wondering what you can do about littering? Probably the most important tip is to prevent littering in the first place. The Zero Waste Lifestyle is designed precisely for this purpose with its basic rules. Use reusable instead of disposable, lend things, repair and reuse - instead of buying them new! So you can Save money sustainably and avoid littering in a targeted manner.
2. merze out the typical causes
A sensible approach in the fight for a clean environment is to weed out the typical offenders. Here I've given you a list of the everyday items left behind in nature particularly frequently and their waste free alternatives compiled.
- Cigarette butt = Use a Pocket ashtray (e.g. this one*)
- ToGo packaging = Use own containers
- Plastic packaging = Set on reusable products
- Beverage containers = Drink tap water from own Drinking bottle (e.g. these*)
- Individual parts like straws = Waive or use such Stainless steel straws*
- Dog waste bags = Use Paper dog waste bags & dispose of them later (e.g. the ones here*)
- Napkins = Use washable, reusable Cloth napkins
- Chewing gums = Put used chewing gum in a paper towel
- Magazines & Flyers = Read magazines digitally or take them back with you
3. report "dirt corners
You know one or the other dirty place where people prefer to leave their garbage? Then report these dirty spots to your municipality so that someone dedicates themselves to this eyesore and cleans it up. Often there are even special hotlines and contact forums - but a lot can also be achieved by e-mail!
4. make other people aware of the garbage problem
The garbage problem is not only one of convenience but also of Education problem! Therefore, you can also stop littering by educating people in a friendly but firm way about the consequences of their actions. Read books and build a body of knowledge. Also like to browse my Book plastic free for beginnersthat you here you get*. And then support or organize awareness campaigns, promote the Environmental protection in schools or simply talk in your environment more often about the garbage problem and how you can solve it yourself. In short: lead by example! Because that's how change comes about in our society.
5. promote political measures
In your community or in a political party, also advocate for specific political measures against littering. For example, ensure that more trash cans are placed to reduce littering. Improve disposal options. Emptying times should also be increased if necessary. But the best thing, of course, is to help ensure that all the People in the region produce significantly less waste and the Internalize consequences of waste in the environment. Incentives for this can include product changes, fines and warning fees, deposit systems, or educational campaigns in schools.
6. organize and support clean-up actions
You can no longer see the garbage in nature and want to stop littering? Then lend a hand yourself and organize your own CleanUp! Often there are other people who are already active. Just join in to make the group even stronger. Many communities also have set "dirt walk days" where everyone cleans up together and makes the area more attractive again. But of course you can also collect garbage on vacation and show yourself as an environmentally conscious tourist!
Always remember the psychological effect: if a place looks particularly tidy and clean, the hurdle to leaving litter there is greater. Graffiti graffiti or vandalism also often go hand in hand with littering.
Tip: Of course, you can also fight littering on a small scale! Collect for example at the Walking with your dog a few objects thrown on the side of the road.
7. address polluters directly but in a friendly manner
You observe someone leaving a full dog waste bag or throwing their cigarette on the ground? Then simply address the person directly, without being too quick-tempered and critical. Rather, awaken the desire in him/her to benefit from a cleaner environment themselves. Less risk of stepping in dog feces, fewer vermin, and higher habitat quality are effective arguments.
A simple question can get you thinking: "What would it look like here if everyone left their trash here like this?" - even if you don't get an answer right away, at least you've planted a seed that can lead to a rethink later, too.
Tip: Feel free to also read my Tips to convince people. They will help you not only in the fight against littering, but in all sorts of life situations. Promise!
8. order pre-cooked instead of to-go food
Often the garbage on the road arises from ToGo packaging. For example at the Kebab at lunch break or at the pre-cut apple from the plastic box at the supermarket. You - and others - can avoid this packaging waste by cooking your next lunch snack in advance. I just always cook a little more of my meals so I'll still have some the next day. Off to the Stainless steel lunch box - ready!
9. create creative incentives
It doesn't always have to be large-scale educational campaigns to bring people closer to the problem of waste. Often all it takes is a funny sign or a small challengeso that they do not carelessly dispose of their waste in the environment. In the picture you can see two quite effective examples. On the left, every cigarette butt thrown in supports the vote for the best soccer player in the world. And on the right, it's appealing to beachgoers' pride to effect change. Just let your creativity run wild to keep unique places litter-free in the future.
10. internalize the advantages
Change comes about when you A real need sees for it. That is why it is important to internalize the benefits of a conscious approach to waste:
- Clean landscapes, in which one likes to spend time. (Recreational effect)
- Healthier soils and food, without toxic residues of the waste.
- Less animal suffering, as the animals often eat garbage or strangle themselves on it.
- Less risk of injury for children, playing with sharp-edged garbage.
... to name just a few examples. Our waste from plastics is simply not biodegradable and remains in nature for a long time if we do nothing about it. To stop littering, awareness of the benefits of each individual is essential.
Stop littering - a clean thing!
Together we can stop the littering of our environment, educate and convince people. In the end, our behavior is solely responsible for littering - and therefore changing our behavior is also the only solution to the problem. A change in thinking on the part of each individual is inevitable.
I hope that with this post I could give you decisive tips and measures against littering. Do you have any questions, suggestions or experiences of your own in the fight against careless littering in public places that you would like to share? As always, feel free to drop me a comment!
PS.: Thanks for your great and garbage-avoiding attitude. By the way, unsolicited commercial mail also makes a lot of trash. In the linked post I show you now how you can Unsubscribe from advertising by mail can. Have fun!
₁ German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Disposable plastic and cigarette butts in the environment cost municipalities 700 million euros annually (as of 20.08.2020), available at https://t1p.de/vbcq. [29.03.2021].
₂ A. Joseph: Cheeky Cans Reduce Litter by Asking People to Vote With Their Trash, https://t1p.de/3a36. [30.03.2021].
₃ r/funny: Why are you littering? (Boka Shete National Park, Curacao), available at https://t1p.de/llma. [30.03.2021].