Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Trash Talk

Every spring 'round about Earth Day I take nail-on-stick in hand and walk around our property, which is bounded by roads on two sides, picking up the detritus that's collected on the roadside over the winter. It's partly just a matter of being a responsible human being and good neighbor, and partly a kind of amateur anthropology field trip. Trash can be kind of interesting.

Much of it is, of course, thrown out of car windows...but being here in the woods, oftentimes it's a matter of critters like crows tearing open people's garbage bags, leaving the trash to be dispersed by wind and assorted animals all over the neighborhood. Sometimes it's gross; one spring I found a pair of boxer shorts and a used condom, here in our civilized subdivision (and I bet you thought Outer Podunk was all about Amish quilting bees and the like). But it's been interesting comparing the garbage from year to year.

I'm happy to report that the Spring 2006 roadside trash haul was much less than usual. I think the worst spring we ever had I picked up two full trash bags full of stuff; yesterday it was half a bag. Fast-food wrappers -- just a couple. I found an empty hamster-food bag. No underwear or prophylactics. The hooch bottles are way down -- every year I've always found a pile of beer and liquor bottles at one corner of our property, as if several people had gotten out of their vehicle and held an impromptu nighttime party there along the road, but this time all I found there were two empty chocolate milk containers. Elsewhere I found a Slim-Fast can. So our neighborhood litterbugs seem to be getting healthier, as well as neater.

Now we're all spiffed up, on two sides of Cold Comfort Cottage and surrounds. My computer desk should be so neat.


MikeF said...

Ah - here it's the wind that's responsible for unsolicted garbage contributions. We live in what used to be an old chalk pit, and anything that blows up the lane ends up on our lawn.

Nothing so, er, interesting as yours, LC. Just crisp packets (that's chip packets to you across the Pond), soft drink cartons, plastic bottletops, bags... But it's about a plastic carrier-bag-full each week, assuming I'm industrious enough to do it weekly, which usually I'm not!

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

When the snow melts, the first spring flowers are the soft drink and beer cans.

Rainbow Pastor said...

What I want to know is where all those plastic shopping bags come from, the ones that get caught on the (anemic) rose bushes by our front porch, and flap pathetically until we go out and unhook them and pack them into the recycle bin.

Oh, that and the beer bottle caps I keep finding with the lawn mower in the back yard (grrr!). They can't ALL be from the previous tenants (who had a hot tub back there)--can they?

Beth said...

mikef: Actually they're not chip packets on this side of the Pond. They're either chip bags or chip packages

Trish said...

It's interesting you should mention Earth Day! Today at the college I attend there was a huge tent set up to celebrate this day on one side of the quad, and on the other side, there were several SUVs and the people with the SUVs who were trying to sell them. Nice, eh? :) Good for you for doing your part.

Lorna said...

my computer desk too :( I'm writing a paper right now and SO MANY upturned books, post its etc as well as paperwork from other things.Time to tidy I think :)

I've noticed that there's a lot less trash in Finland - fewer litter bugs -I don't think you can really blame the wind. It doesn't generate the stuff in the first place. A few years ago we visited friends in Scotland and were horrified at the number of empty crisp bags, sweetie papers and irn-bru(a sort of soda!) cans and plastic bottles. English cities (and some towns) were just as bad :(

In Finland ALL soft drinks and beer are in bottles or cans which carry a refundable deposit. What's more all shops (except one) accept the bottles and cans wherever you purchased them. It helps a lot. What's more if you don't take it back - someone else will :)