Some of you have asked me about my trash pictures that I post on Instagram, so I thought I would take a minute and give you the back story.
Many years ago I started a tradition. It’s not as glamorous as brushing your teeth every day or showering regularly or anything like that, but when I was a teenager wandering the streets I was disgusted by the amount of trash that littered the streets. So I made a decision. I was going to pick up one piece of trash every day. Big or small, didn’t matter. Just one piece. Back then I was also a smoker, and one of the things that I thought was the worst was all the cigarette butts. Sometimes I’d be walking through a parking lot and would find where someone just dumped their entire ashtray out on the pavement. It made me sad. It made me sick to my stomach. It made me angry.
It made me sad because I couldn’t comprehend why someone would want to just leave their trash in a pile on the street. Did they not care about how that looks? It made me sick to my stomach because that action told me that they took zero responsibility for their own actions. It made me angry because it’s ABSOLUTE LAZINESS. Seriously. You can’t just do that when you get home into your own trash can? Or how about you walk the 20 feet to the public can? SERIOUSLY. But hey, someone else will clean it up right? WRONG. I won’t go into all of the environmental hazards here, the hazards to our drinking water, to wildlife, to our future. You know it’s bad, I know it’s bad. Why do people keep doing it?
I mentioned before I was a smoker. I smoked a lot. I made it my mission to not throw my butts in the street. I would keep ziplock bags in my pocket to collect the butts and throw the bag away later. I used old water bottles on my porch and in my car. I also picked up my friends butts and tried to encourage them to not litter. Some of them would try to stop me, but as soon as they realized that I would not be dissuaded, many of them stopped littering around me, or would make use of my butt-vessels (insert Bevis and Butthead laugh here).
The coolest thing about this is that a few years back a friend of mine from way back then came to visit and he was still not throwing his butts out! After all those years he was carrying on the tradition. I have no idea how many people I inspired by doing this, but finding out that at least one person was still making the effort was a special moment for me. By now we’ve both quit smoking, which of course is even better, but it made me wonder if there were any other people from my past still carrying on.
If you’re interested in learning a few litter facts, check out http://www.dontmesswithtexas.org/about/litter-facts/
My favorite one is #8: If every person in Texas picked up just two pieces of trash every month, our highways would be completely litter-free in just one year. Two pieces a month? We can totally do that!
Are you ready to commit to picking up one piece of trash per day? If you’d like to join me in making our world a more beautiful place, post a pic of YOUR trash pickup on Instagram and use the hashtag #todaystrash. I would love to see if we can make our streets litter free!