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Doesn't Every Litter Bit Still Hurt?

Feb 25, 2008
The Linuses of this world leave litter in their wake. It makes me wonder what their homes look like. It's the people who don't put the refuse of their lives in the proper receptacles who put the rash in trash.

Once when my grandmother was traveling by train, she put her unfinished lunch back in the box. She even retied the string around the box - making it obvious where I inherited my compulsiveness. Although she didn't think leaving the box on the train was littering, she paid for her mistake. When the porter ran after her with the lunch box, she had to tip him.

Yes, Grandmother was guilty of littering; but manufacturers are guilty of premeditated littering. They intentionally package goods in larger packaging than necessary to catch our eye. Instead, they should catch our wrath. We pay for the packaging twice - first when we buy the blister-packaged goods and second when we have to get rid of the packaging. One third of American garbage is packaging material. This is the ultimate trash talk.

Unfortunately, blister-packaging doesn't just sit in landfills. It leaches harmful chemicals into the soil. When it's dumped in the ocean, it poisons sea life. At least San Francisco is doing something about it. By outlawing plastic bags, San Francisco has inspired me to remove plastic from my life. If I call my removal movement "the plastic surgery you can't afford not to have", maybe it will catch on.

Plastic and other rubbish go from my wastebasket to the condo's bin to the truck which collects it three times a week to the land fill which becomes a housing development with new homeowners with new wastebaskets. It's the twenty-first century circle of life. What a wonderful life this would be if the circle of life inspired the golden rule - clean up what you mess up. If we did, there'd be no litter on streets or in parks - or maybe in Washington.

If we recycled what we cleaned up, we'd extend the life of would-be rubbish. Today's newspapers are tomorrow's news. Tonight's burgers are tomorrow's meatloaf. Tomorrow's problems may not happen - which recycles hope.

Hope is what we need when discarded material, empty words and contemptible people are all called trash. Of course, after the juice has been extracted from sugar cane, sugar cane's also called trash - which proves even trash has a sweet side.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
Take a minute to make yourself smile at
http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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