Monday, August 22, 2011

Kelsey: Littering is good for the earth.

If you only read one blog post... read this one. But I mean if you only read one blog post then what are you doing here? Is this your first time? Welcome! Get ready to see some pictures of garbage.

I truly believe that littering is very good for the earth. I may have come to this conclusion one day just so I could disagree with Sarah and start a fight (I don't know why i do that...). But since that time I have come to fully believe it. Here in Uganda my point is proven. 

Wikipedia (oh yes I am going there) says "To litter means to throw (often man-made) objects onto the ground and leave them unremoved, as opposed to disposing of them properly." Sounds about right. My problem is what is "disposing of them properly"? If that is recycling them then I am ALL for that. Please recycle. But many things are not recyclable. Disposing of them properly would be to throw them in a garbage can. That garbage can will be collected and the garbage transported to a landfill. And then it will magically disappear and cause the earth no harm at all! 


The only difference between littering and "proper disposal" is aesthetics. If you throw your trash on the side of the road it looks bad! Its an eyesore. Its bad for the community. But its the exact same for the earth. If not better! When all of our garbage is collected and put in the same spot the things that should be biodegradable cannot biodegrade when compressed between tons of garbage. Garbage lasts longer when it is with other garbage. 

So I propose we litter. 

Because if we litter we can't ignore it. 

This is the path I take to get to the hospital. It goes through a field next to our house where the local council has placed a dumpster. The local council used to pick up the garbage that was thrown here but 5 months ago they quit. So the garbage comes. 

Cows graze here, kids play here, I walk here. The garbage that has piled up sucks.

The worst part about walking through the garbage is finding things that you are sure came from your house. From far away I can look at this mess and shake my head condescendingly at my neighbors and all of their garbage. Stupid messy neighbors.

But walking through it I see things I recognize. 

That might be my Royco wrapper, maybe that is my old plastic bag, that is definitely my tuna fish wrapper from America. Suck. 

Seeing my garbage in front of me every day makes me very conscious of what I am throwing away. If I can't recycle it (I can't recycle anything here) then I should find a way to reuse it. We keep salt in pringles containers and tea in old jars of spaghetti sauce. Old plastic bags can even be crocheted into handbags. They sell them at Urban Outfitters, super cute. At the same time not everything can be reused. When we were kids we were taught "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" but its like only recycling stuck. Why do people gotta hate on reduce and reuse? They feel bad about themselves, low self esteem and such.

Reduce! Consume less, a concept that is completely foreign to most of the western world. I think it is a choice we actually might make if we were faced with a front yard full of garbage. 

Also garbage/litter will totally ruin your pictures. If that isn't a motivation to Reduce Reuse Recycle I just don't know what is.

Ok I was trying to find the School House Rock song about recycling and this was the closest I could find...

Its like a mutant School House Rock. I dont know how I feel about this.


  1. Lies. All Lies.

    I'll give you one guess who posted this.

  2. Great post, Kels! I remember producing so much garbage when growing up. We had garbage pickup TWICE a week, and we had mulitple bags at every pickup.

    Now we have pickup once a week, and we usually only have one, or sometimes two, bags. True that we had 4 people and now we have two, but we were producing like 4 or more times as much trash. How did that happen?

    We could still do A LOT better. We don't currently compost, for example, and there's no reason not to. Thinking about how much waste we produce (as your post makes one do) really troubles me.

    One thing I do that's terrible is buy coffee in disposable cups. I make two or three efforts each year to break this habit when I buy a new travel mug. While I have the mug, I never let myself buy a drink in a disposable cup. But, inevitably, I lose the mug after a few months. I don't know how to solve this problem yet.

    I think it's pretty cool that cloth diapering also seems to be coming back. I've seen a few young parents around my age doing this, and with the new "systems" it seems to be just as easy as disposable. But this, too, is an issue of privilege. Disposable diapers are really expensive in the long run (probably more so than cloth), but the cloth system is a really high up front cost--if you don't have all that disposable (ha) income up front, you might not be able to invest in it. It also assumes that either you will be home with your child, or you have the choice of using a childcare that's willing to use those diapers, and that you have personal laundry facilities, since I doubt poo is welcome in laundromat machines.

    For ladies looking to save money and reduce wasteful output, I cannot recommend highly enough the diva cup (or its sister, the mooncup). That was probably one of the best investments I have made....and it has made my life a lot easier in addition to saving money and reducing gross waste.

  3. Thought provoking post! I never really considered that throwing your garbage away isn't really disposing of it properly, just moving the mess out of your view.

  4. favorite line: Why do people gotta hate on reduce and reuse?

    also.. i agree with the post. i have a sign hanging in my cube that says "don't throw anything away. there is no away"

  5. We should all be hoarders instead.


  6. do you take poop showers

  7. answer me poop head

  8. Hi Kelsey,
    I thought this was really interesting though I would still have to say littering is bad,
    Well, Actually I don't really know.
    I'm kinda on the fence.

  9. Kels this post is so wrong! your point of view could destroy the world and our community would look horrible!