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Old 01-05-2020, 12:20 PM   #1
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Roadside Litter

Just wanted some thoughts from the well-traveled, reasonable and pragmatic members here. This is tangentially related to camping because we all travel the roadways. I am getting really frustrated with all the roadside litter I see almost everywhere. Town sponsored neighborhood cleanups and adopt-a-highway corporate litter programs are clearly not enough. I have way more questions than answers. Are the people littering just passing thru an area with no respect for themselves, others or the environment? Are they locals/commuters that chronically add to their same litter on a daily basis? Am I only seeing more because many years ago it was mostly paper based that would break down faster and now much of it is plastic? Is this only a problem in the highly populated areas of NJ/NY/PA that I frequently travel or are very rural areas affected too? Are people littering more, are we collectively picking up less or a combination? Why are county and state road crews not doing more? Why are prisoner work crews not out more often? Isnt this a huge opportunity for towns to put unemployed people to work?

Im not just complaining. I clean up local roads on my own and as part of community clean up days, as well as, clean up campsites when I see the need.

Sorry for the less than ideal topic but any thoughts would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:40 PM   #2
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Hi: rubicon327... Municipal funding is an issue. There's only so many non profits to go around and pick up after litterers!!! Just noticed yesterday how much litter around the freeway entrance. Alf
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:52 PM   #3
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Roadside litter is a problem about everywhere I’ve been. In Iowa it was cut down to a good degree when they started the nickel bottle and can deposit. However the proliferation of empty water bottles, and fast food bags and wrappers continue to be a problem. Our scout troop managed a two mile adopt a Highway segment along a busy highway SW of my home town. We used the cleanup as certification for helping the community and it earned the boys a patch ( pocket segment). The boys did a very good job and it wasn’t hard to motivate them. However, towards the end of my tenure with scouting it was both disheartening and scary to have to explain to the boys not to handle hazardous litter such as bottles of urine, hypodermic needles, used condoms and the like. The litter problem is another manifestation of the lack of
genuine citizenship being understood, taught, and practiced in our country. States with bottle bills are fought tooth and nail by large grocery chains on the legislative front nearly every session. Like many, I do what I can when I’m out in the out of doors but It’s certainly an uphill battle. As my grandson and I policed a remote campsite last summer I was proud to show him the 4 nice aluminum tent stakes I had pulled from the ground. He countered showing me a $25 pocket knife he’d found. Do what you can and set a good example for the youngsters.
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Old 01-05-2020, 01:05 PM   #4
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Oh boy...this is a topic..... this is something I think starts with learning to pick up after oneself very early in life, from toys to clothes to something boring as making one's bed. The small niceties that used to be important. This seems to me to be something that has grown along with being a disposable society. Not unique to any location-although municipal funding helps- really humans need to examine their conscience about all things disposable.
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Old 01-05-2020, 02:08 PM   #5
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About 1/2 way to work from home is the regional land fill. Many times on the drive I'd be somewhere behind an overfilled commercial trash truck en route to said land fill with the trash blowing out the top or back of the truck, sometimes a lot of it. The trucks can come from a multitude of directions on the numerous highways that take one to the dump.

Many times over the years I've seen stuff blowing out the back of pickups going to our town dump.
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Old 01-05-2020, 02:29 PM   #6
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A topic indeed. Not to go off on a tangent too far, but I think littering is just one sign of a poorly educated and raised populace. My parents never littered, and taught all of us children the importance of being responsible about the land. We in turn passed that down to our kids. But then again, our parents also taught us a work ethic, manners, civility, to shun handouts, to do a job right, and to take pride in it - all things that I see as slipping away to a certain extent in today's culture. Litter is just one of the more noticeable signs.
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Old 01-05-2020, 02:42 PM   #7
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This

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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
A topic indeed. Not to go off on a tangent too far, but I think littering is just one sign of a poorly educated and raised populace. My parents never littered, and taught all of us children the importance of being responsible about the land. We in turn passed that down to our kids. But then again, our parents also taught us a work ethic, manners, civility, to shun handouts, to do a job right, and to take pride in it - all things that I see as slipping away to a certain extent in today's culture. Litter is just one of the more noticeable signs.
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:00 PM   #8
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About 1/2 way to work from home is the regional land fill. Many times on the drive I'd be somewhere behind an overfilled commercial trash truck en route to said land fill with the trash blowing out the top or back of the truck, sometimes a lot of it. The trucks can come from a multitude of directions on the numerous highways that take one to the dump.

Many times over the years I've seen stuff blowing out the back of pickups going to our town dump.
I agree that not all the roadside litter is purposely thrown there by individuals but most of what I see is. I have even started seeing small bags of trash. As if someone took a convenience store bag and cleaned out their car or collected stuff over time and then just dropped the bag.

These trucks you speak of should be enclosed or have some type of netting covering the trash. There is no accountability for these drivers/companies that have trash blowing out of their trucks?
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:39 PM   #9
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Do what you can and set a good example for the youngsters.
Great insight as usual Dave. I know my attitude comes from my father who was a science teacher and avid outdoorsman. We strived to leave places better than we found them which usually meant picking up after someone else. My kids now participate in local cleanups and Ive seen them start to pick up some litter unprompted. I agree that education and how you are raised is a big part of this.

Maybe I take this challenge as an opportunity. Teach my young son entrepreneurship by starting a small non-profit. Towns, businesses and landowners can donate to have areas cleaned. Use some crowdfunding to get it off the ground. A donor could name the area they want cleaned and well find people that would like the opportunity to be paid to do it. Maybe as a non-profit wed be eligible for grants. A lot of hurdles though like safety along busy roadways. Just not sure why towns arent doing something like this themselves. Ive heard of some programs where cities are giving homeless people the opportunity to work for better than minimum wage cleaning up the city. Just hope that cash goes towards more than just supporting a habit. Quite a dilemma for sure...
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:53 PM   #10
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Volunteering

I was Parks Superintendent for quite a few years in two different Iowa cities. It just “naturally falls” to that job to organize cleanups. Calls to the mayor and commissioners, Parks and Recreation Director etc, got routed my way as well as offers to do Eagle Scout projects, install youth group built bird houses, you name it. When the push came from the mayor and council in later years to encourage volunteerism and record hours donated, bags collected, and in general the value of the donated work, I had been doing that for years and had about 15 groups doing spring and fall cleanups on an annual basis. The leadership would set goals for all departments that were easily doable. Then I’d turn in my report and those other department managers called me a curve wrecker. I pick up all kinds of stuff, bait cups, empty shotgun shells, lead weights off of tires by potholes, mud flaps, lumber cribbing etc. Our landfill takes any steel for free and also compostables. One spring after a flood I worked with Chad Pergracke of Living Lands and Waters on an extensive cleanup and was given a nice award at his annual
Clambake down on the Mississippi River. Chad is quite a guy.

Everybody needs to help, it’a like Smokey says “Only You”
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:57 PM   #11
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When using my disk clean utility there is a video and quote of Goethe that says “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
These trucks you speak of should be enclosed or have some type of netting covering the trash. There is no accountability for these drivers/companies that have trash blowing out of their trucks?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
Roadside litter is a problem about everywhere Ive been. In Iowa it was cut down to a good degree when they started the nickel bottle and can deposit. However the proliferation of empty water bottles....
Oregon makes 'unsecured' loads pay twice the price at garbage dumps, recycle sites and yard debris sites.

Low level offenders with 'good behavior' from those incarcerated earn a chance to work outside with the Clean Highways crews, both county and state. Consider them the new and improved chain gangs.

Oregon is also a state that's has a Bottle Bill. Beverages in cartons, foil pouches, drink boxes, and metal containers that require a tool to be opened are not included.

Only containers for these beverages in sizes three liters or less are included:
  • Water, flavored water, soda water, and mineral water
  • Beer/malt beverages
  • Carbonated soft drinks
All other beverages except distilled liquor, wine, dairy or plant-based milks, infant formula, and meal replacement beverages, including but not limited to:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hard cider
  • Fruit juice
  • Energy and sports drinks
  • Coconut water
The refund value on redeemable containers is 10 cents. The refund value increased from 5 cents to 10 cents on April 1, 2017.

So, when you visit Oregon, please know we don't have a sales tax, but be prepared to get hit in the wallet with 'refundable deposits.'

Bet our highways and roads are cleaner than most states.
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:59 PM   #13
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That is one way to do it....
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Old 01-05-2020, 04:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
A topic indeed. Not to go off on a tangent too far, but I think littering is just one sign of a poorly educated and raised populace. My parents never littered, and taught all of us children the importance of being responsible about the land. We in turn passed that down to our kids. But then again, our parents also taught us a work ethic, manners, civility, to shun handouts, to do a job right, and to take pride in it - all things that I see as slipping away to a certain extent in today's culture. Litter is just one of the more noticeable signs.
Another Amen.

One slight small improvement that I've noticed is fewer drivers ahead of me flicking their cigarette butts out the window. But it still happens enough to make me want to have a chat with the culprit. In some ways society has become more aware of some bad environmental practices while becoming worse in other ways.

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Old 01-05-2020, 04:24 PM   #15
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Locally there are efforts to control the proliferation of plastic shopping bags that fill the landfill, are harmful to wildlife, take centuries to decompose, clog drainage systems, hang from trees and fences, on and on.

Some communities ban them outright. Some now charge a fee of $.10/bag. 4 cents goes to the merchant to cover their cost and the rest to fund environmental programs. Two stores in town simply give customers a five cent credit for every reusable bag they supply.

Every little bit helps.
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Old 01-05-2020, 04:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
A topic indeed. Not to go off on a tangent too far, but I think littering is just one sign of a poorly educated and raised populace. My parents never littered, and taught all of us children the importance of being responsible about the land. We in turn passed that down to our kids. But then again, our parents also taught us a work ethic, manners, civility, to shun handouts, to do a job right, and to take pride in it - all things that I see as slipping away to a certain extent in today's culture. Litter is just one of the more noticeable signs.
Robert you took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn't have expressed it better.
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Old 01-05-2020, 06:35 PM   #17
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Interesting article on the problems with single use plastic items and the origins of the Keep America Beautiful campaign.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...tic-pollution/
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:20 PM   #18
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I was behind a Cadillac SUV and the lady driving tossed a fast food bag out her window...in the downtown area. I thought I saw kids in the back seat.


What a role model. God help us all.
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:55 PM   #19
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When I rode a motorcycle, more than a few times, I'd pick up something someone threw out the window, catch up with them, and at a stop light pull up along side them, hand it though their window, "You dropped this".... oh did I get some shocked looks from well dressed ladies and gentlemen. Flipping a cigarette butt out the window would get a long lay on the horn (my BMW motorcycle had a rather loud Hella horn)

my kid has been motorcycling through Europe this past month, France, Corsica, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and one of his comments was, how clean the streets and highways are everywhere.
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdColorado View Post
Locally there are efforts to control the proliferation of plastic shopping bags that fill the landfill, are harmful to wildlife, take centuries to decompose, clog drainage systems, hang from trees and fences, on and on.

Some communities ban them outright. Some now charge a fee of $.10/bag. 4 cents goes to the merchant to cover their cost and the rest to fund environmental programs. Two stores in town simply give customers a five cent credit for every reusable bag they supply.

Every little bit helps.
Our local grocery store, Shoprite, had a big push a few years back to sell reusable bags and would then give 5 cents credit when you used your own bags. They stopped giving the credit and I definitely see fewer people using the reusable bags. It wasnt much of an incentive but it was enough motivation for some. I dont even want to think about the number of plastic bags that come out of a single busy grocery store on a Saturday. I only hope many of these bags are returned to the store deposit containers and recycled, but Im afraid that may be too optimistic. On a brighter note, I have noticed the Wawa convenience stores in our area dont automatically give you a bag anymore. They ask if you want one or you have to tell them you do.
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