My family and I have a lifelong habit of working to keep our communities clean, including picking up roadside litter annually and on frequent walks in our neighborhoods. I'd like to offer some tips on how others can assist in our efforts:
a. Don't throw litter out your car window - how easy is that? Isn't it nicer to drive down roads without litter? And be aware how much of the food and drink and cigarette containers and scratch tickets you're tempted to toss out is easily recyclable plastic and paper.
b. Cover your trash and recycling when you put it out for pickup by your town or other pickup service. That keeps out crows and dogs who will scatter trash everywhere, and it prevents the wind from blowing the lighter items out.
c. After your weekly trash and recycling service, scan the area for the items that got away, and take them indoors for next week. And give your neighbors a hand by picking up their scraps too; they may not be as capable and observant as you are.
d. If you're out walking, carry a bag to pick up trash when the mood suits you. But if you aren't equipped to pick up trash, leave it where it lies and one of us will get it; it's probably stable where it is. Please don't move it and put sand, rocks, etc. in it to weight it down for others to pick up, because that just makes the trash a heavy mess to handle and makes items less recyclable.
e. Smokers and Vapers: Most cigarette butts contain fiberglass filters that do not rot but make a widespread fibrous mess. Vaping devices produce a variety of plastic-and-metal throwaway pieces that are rapidly covering our sidewalks and streets, especially in urban areas. In dry conditions the hot butts have caused many large fires in Maine and elsewhere. Please dispose of them properly, and the rest of us will appreciate it.
f. Consider the health of wild animals and your neighbors' pets. Please do not leave bones and other items by the roadside that will attract animals. To you they may seem like a welcome treat, but they attract the animals into the traffic, and can turn even a well-behaved dog on a leash into a vicious fighting beast. Bones can break into shards that will hurt or choke some dogs.
David H. Brown
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