Deborah McLaughlin: Litterbugs: Who do you think you are?
I spent a sunny Saturday in Summit County cleaning up someone else’s trash. I am amazed at the arrogance or ignorance of folks who choose to carelessly discard their trash. Are you the construction company that trashes the work site? Are you lunching along the bike path or river and leaving containers and bags? Are you dog owners who bag your dogs’ feces, leaving the bag and contents for someone else to trash? Are you retailers who provide free and abundant plastic bags?
We picked up trash between Highway 9 and the bike path south of Coyne Road, a construction area. Empty cardboard boxes, cement bags, styrene, and plastic sheets floated in the river, stuck in the mud and wedged in the tree branches. You didn’t bother providing your workers with a Dumpster and recycle bin for cardboard. Volunteers picked up your trash. Who do you think you are?
Workers and bike path users enjoy nice lunches along the river and leave plastic bottles, food containers, and countless plastic bags. The lunch trash blows into the river and gets caught in the trees. We waded in the river, plodded through the mud, and crawled into the bushes to untangle and remove your picnic debris, scraping arms, legs and faces. Who do you think you are?
We picked up plastic bags full of your dog’s business. If you are here with your dog, you are probably a resident. You haughtily expect someone else to pick up feces that belong to you. Who do you think you are?
The retailers in Summit County should insist that shoppers use reusable bags. Natural Grocers does not provide plastic bags. The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in four visits to the grocery store. The U.S. uses 100 billion plastic bags annually. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to make that many bags. Only 1-3 percent of plastic bags are recycled because the economics to recycle the bags doesn’t work. It costs $4,000 to recycle one ton of plastic bags which can be sold for $32. So we ship them to countries like India and China, the dumping grounds for the Western world, for incineration. A reusable bag can eliminate 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. Bring your own bags to the store. Then we aren’t using precious oil to manufacture the bags. We aren’t polluting other countries with our plastic trash. And best of all we aren’t throwing plastic bags into the rivers and on to the walk/bikeways in Summit County for others to pick up! So retailers, who do think you are?
It’s a shame that others have to pick up after construction sites that trash, people that lunch and leave, dog owners that leave their crap for someone else, and retailers that continue to supply us with unnecessary plastic trash. Is it arrogance or ignorance? Your litter disrespects your neighbors and insults Summit County. Pick up your own trash. Who do you think you are?
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