Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 24 Pick up any and all litter I come across

This challenge is deceptive. You think that picking up litter and disposing of it properly would be a piece of cake. Not so. Some garbage really shouldn't be handled with bare hands, sometimes the garbage you find is far, far away from a proper waste receptacle and so you end up carrying it around, and people tend to look at you funny. Like "what kind of hippy do-gooder are you?" and "maybe this chick has mental problems". This attitude is particularly prevalent in areas of affluence (Bay and King - the Toronto financial district) and areas of rash consumerism (malls).

You know that look of disdain that skinny 15 year old girls can pull off? The "ewww, that is so gross, I'm going to text my friends right away and tell them about this creepy lady picking up mall garbage." Well even though I am twice their age, that look still gets me. Perhaps because I've never been popular and suffer from low self esteem.

I can't believe I've been at this challenge for 24 days already. This might just be the longest I've ever stuck with anything. I'm better at being green than sticking to a diet. Humph.

In other exciting news, my condo has started a blocking of junk mail program. Now I have a pick paper taped to the inside of my mailbox, telling Canada Post that this box wants no more junk mail. Hopefully the junk mail I would receive is going back to the sorting plant to be recycled.


Q said...

Don't give up. You're going strong, and you've got all your readers behind you now!

Sandy said...

I agree! Go for it! You're fighting the good fight!

Cousin Yellowstone said...

Oh boy, I can relate to everything you wrote here. I've been picking up trash for a long time (with an emphasis on recyclable trash), and been stared at plenty of times. It's sometimes embarrassing, but I persevere because I know how much difference it makes when recyclable items are actually recycled. The items I'm most motivated to pick up are aluminum cans, due to the environmental costs of mining and refining bauxite. Aluminum cans are closely followed by glass bottles, because broken bottles have given me more flat tires than I can count, and picking up an intact glass bottle today means not having to deal with glass shards next week after the bottle has been smashed by a car's tires.

One thing I find a little odd is when I pick up copious amounts of trash and people don't stare or even seem to notice. An example of that took place a few days ago, when I participated in a group walk and kept stopping to pick up the water bottles dropped by my fellow walkers. By the end of the walk, I was carrying two big bags of bottles, and no one so much as glanced at them or commented on what litterbugs the other walkers were.

I have to confess to not picking up all the trash I go past. Recently, I cleaned up the trash from a single side of a single block, and that took over half an hour. As I walk several miles per day, cleaning up all the trash I pass would slow me down so much that my commute would take all day. I suggest not beating yourself up if you find you're unable to stick to your resolution to pick up any and all litter you come across. If you pick up even half a dozen pieces a day, you'll be making a dent in the problem, and also serving as a model for the people who see what you're doing. They won't all be like the disdainful 15 year olds, thankfully.

MissHilary said...

Sending the junk mail back to the sorting plant for recycling is still a waste. Can't you stop it at the source by going to an anti-junkmail website and getting your home address removed from the junkmail lists altogether?