Our trashy town

I’m continuously reminded at how lazy we are. How careless we are. How little thought we put into something that should be second nature.

Now, given the major flood we just fought through, things in this town aren’t likely to make Martha Stewart jump up and down, clapping her hands.  Maybe we just need some time to clean things up this spring. Maybe I’m jumping the gun, voicing my tree-hugging opinion too soon, but have you taken a look around our community as the snow has melted?  It’s gross and pathetic. There isn’t a street I’ve driven down that doesn’t have some amount of trash lining the ditches.

It’s really sad. If it doesn’t bother you, it should. 

How does all that litter exist? Ditches, parking lots and yards have so much trash that it doesn’t look like our city has a landfill — it looks like our city IS a landfill. Beer bottles, pop cans, Taco Bell wrappers, Frito Lay bags, miscellaneous clothing items. It appears as if our town had a raging party and left a non-existent host to clean it up.

Earth Day is today. Imagine if we dedicated ourselves as much to this national holiday as we did to Christmas – the time we take and the money we spend buying gifts for loved ones.  Or Thanksgiving – the time spent baking, drinking and eating.  What if everyone took Earth Day that seriously?  Our communities would be sparkling!

The different levels of dedication to the “green movement” are astounding. A few of my friends join me in hanging on to their plastic water bottles until they can find a recycling bin – even if that means carrying it home. I bring reusable bags to the grocery store, and kick myself when I forget. Even then, I reuse or recycle the stupid plastic bags they give out like unwanted reading material at a fair.

Then there are the other guys.  It’s as if they don’t know what recycling is – a totally foreign concept from which they’re excluded.  A free pass to not have to make an effort in reducing their footprint, and they grip that pass like a $100 bill, utilizing it to the fullest by throwing their trash out the window – literally and figuratively.

I had to laugh when doing my morning routine at the gym last week – not because it was funny, but rather pathetic. I had just packed an empty 3-oz plastic bottle into my gym bag, dedicated to recycling the little guy. Not 30 seconds after, I heard a “clunk” in the garbage just feet away from me.  A lady had thrown two extra large shampoo and conditioner bottles in the trash. In the trash!!! Come on, lady.

I stared down at the fully-recyclable bottles covering the entire bottom half of the garbage can and debated fishing them out and packing them in my own bag.  I have done this before but have to draw a line somewhere or I’d spend all day separating other peoples’ trash. Instead, I grew angry at the lady’s absent minded toss and the facility we were at – why does such a commonplace not offer an option to recycle? Most bars don’t even recycle. Imagine the number of accumulated glass bottles by closing time on Saturday night. Ouch.

Excuses for not recycling shouldn’t exist.  You’d be surprised how easy it is to bend down and pick up the cardboard Coke box lying in your yard. How convenient it is to use a reusable bag.  How good it feels to have more materials in your recycling bin than in your trash can at the end of the week.

If you don’t believe me, try it once. It’s free!

Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

6 thoughts on “Our trashy town

    • maybe if people would do what they are supposed to do around the house, that would solve all the problems in the world. but what is worse is people that drive trashy cars made in japan and tiawan. like a mazda for example.

  1. This is not new. You know full well that people throw crap everywhere. I actually look at is as giving me more faith in how many people actually pick up the garbage laying around that they can see in the times when there is not snow on the ground.

  2. Grand Forks looks the same way, and we offer curbside recycling. It just so happens most people find the landfill, or simply throwing it out their windows, easier. It’s a shame, and it makes me mad too!

  3. This is yet another story about personal responsibility, or lack of it. I don’t understand why people think it’s ok to litter? Now, in smaller towns, littering isn’t as accepted. I once got pulled over by an Emerado, ND police officer because one of my passengers threw a gum wrapper out the window. A gum wrapper that was crumpled into a tiny ball. The officer had seen him throw it out the window as we drove away from a gas station. I remember the officer saying “You will not litter in my town”.
    Why aren’t our law enforcement officals or city leaders as serious about littering?

  4. We burned all of our garbage at the farm, but since moving to Fargo, I have learned to enjoy recycling my trash.

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