LitterJuly 14, 2009
In 1001 little ways to save the planet number 1001 is Be a litter picker.
I have noticed it is second nature for my husband to pick up and throw away litter he comes upon, or even bring it home to recycle. I’d like to thing I do it unconsciously, but I know it is a conscious decision each and every time, but I do it whenever health and safety allow. I hope my children are watching and learning. They certainly know better than to litter (as teens this will probably be the way they rebel); I have very little tolerance for littering in my presence.
According to research on littering in Australia (with similar results elsewhere), they found the following:
Five types of people with respect to litter:
- Non-litterers – environmentally conscious, don’t litter and usually pick up litter of others
- Inconvenients – too hard, too much trouble, someone else’s problem
- Ignorants – these people are simply unaware of a link between the environment and their litter behavior
- Willful Arrogants – usually litter in a context, i.e. "It’s okay to litter in urban areas but not in the country"
- Anti-establishments – make a statement with purposeful littering
Caring enough to not litter seems to be driven by:
- Knowledge and awareness
- How much they care about the environment
- Positive self-image
- Attitudes to life (i.e. happy and content)
- Sense of community and an empathy with the needs of others
- Ease of disposal
- Context they are in (16-24 year olds tend to litter more while in groups, but those older litter less in groups and more when alone)
- Type of litter
- If they can get away with it (either in terms of being observed or fined)
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, where I found this information, the 16 – 24 year old age group was also identified in Texas research as a group that is most likely to litter. Hmmm, maybe those teens are rebelling. I hope they grow out of it.