How can littering be stopped? You are no doubt familiar with the bad habits of some people who simply leave their waste, such as cigarette butts, to-go packaging or drinks 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. Smell, 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 you can use to 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 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 waste!₁ Whether on beaches, in parks, at highway service stations 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 believing 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 a public space where all people and animals suffer the consequences of littering.
Here are some tips to help you ensure that you and many other people live more sustainably and deal with waste more consciously. Let's go!
1. heed the Zero Waste basic rules
Wondering what you can do about littering? Probably the most important tip is to avoid 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 eliminate the typical culprits. Here I have compiled a list of the most common everyday objects left behind in nature and their waste-free alternatives compiled.
- Cigarette butt = Use a Pocket ashtray (e.g. this one*)
- ToGo packaging = Use your 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
Do you know one or two dirty places where people prefer to leave their garbage? Then report these dirty spots to your local authority so that someone will take care of this eyesore and clean 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 waste problem
The waste problem is not only one of convenience but also one of Education problem! That's why you can also stop littering by informing people in a friendly but firm way about the consequences of their actions. Read books and build up a wealth of knowledge. You can also browse through my Plastic-free book for beginnersthat you here you get*. And then support or organize educational campaigns, promote the Environmental protection in schools or simply talk to your friends and family about the waste problem and how you can solve it yourself. In short: lead by example! Because that's how change happens in our society.
5. promote political measures
In your community or in a political party, also campaign for targeted political measures against littering. For example, make sure that more garbage cans are installed to reduce littering. Improve disposal options. Emptying times should also be increased if necessary. But the best thing to do, of course, is to help ensure that all people in the region produce significantly less waste and the Internalize the consequences of waste in the environment. Incentives for this could include product changes, fines and warnings, deposit systems or educational campaigns in schools.
6. organize and support clean-up campaigns
Are you tired of seeing 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. Simply join in to make the group even stronger. In many communities, there are also designated "dirt-away 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, people are more likely to leave garbage there. Graffiti and vandalism also often go hand in hand with littering.
Tip: Of course, you can also combat littering on a small scale! For example, collect Walking with your dog to collect a few objects that have been thrown along the path.
7. address environmental offenders directly but in a friendly manner
Do you see someone leaving a full dog waste bag or throwing a cigarette on the floor? Then simply address the person directly without being too quick-tempered or critical. Rather, awaken the desire in him/her to benefit from a cleaner environment themselves. Less risk of stepping in dog excrement, fewer vermin and a higher quality of living space are effective arguments.
A simple question can get you thinking: "What would it look like here if everyone left their garbage here like this?" - even if you don't receive an answer straight away, you have at least planted a seed that can lead to a change in thinking later on.
Tip: Feel free to also read my Tips for convincing people. They will not only help you in the fight against littering, but in all kinds of situations. I promise!
8. order pre-cooked instead of to-go food
To-go packaging often generates waste on the go. For example when Kebab during the lunch break or at the pre-cut apple from the plastic box in the supermarket. You - and others - can avoid this packaging waste by pre-cooking your next lunch snack. I always cook a little more of my meals so that I still have some of it the next day. Off to the Stainless steel lunch box - ready!
9. create creative incentives
It doesn't always have to be large-scale awareness campaigns to bring people closer to the problem of waste. Often a funny sign or a small challengeso that they don't 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, the pride of beachgoers is appealed to in order to bring about change. Just let your creativity run wild to keep unique places litter-free in the future.
10. internalize the advantages
Change happens when you A real need for it. It is therefore important to internalize the benefits of a conscious approach to waste:
- Clean landscapeswhere people like to spend time. (recreational effect)
- Healthier soils and foodwithout toxic residues from the waste.
- Less animal sufferingas the animals often eat garbage or strangle themselves on it.
- Reduced risk of injury for childrenwho play with sharp-edged garbage.
... to name just a few examples. Our plastic waste 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 people and convince them. In the end, our behavior is solely responsible for littering - and that is why changing our behavior is the only solution to the problem. A rethink by each individual is unavoidable.
I hope that I have been able to provide you with decisive tips and measures against littering in this article. 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? Then, as always, feel free to write me a comment!
PS: Thank you for your great and waste-avoiding attitude. By the way, unsolicited advertising mail also generates a lot of waste. In the linked post, I'll now show you how to Unsubscribe from advertising by mail can. Have fun!
₁ Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Disposable plastic and cigarette butts in the environment cost local authorities 700 million euros a year (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].