2022: The Year We Take Out the Trash

How Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Going?

2022 is here and time for a whole new set of New Year’s Resolutions.

You know, the things we pledge to do differently this year, even though you may not have completed last year’s resolutions.

No judgment here, as most of us never complete them, and most give up on them after only a couple of months.

But what if there was one resolution that we could all do together, and that one thing could make our lives, community, and planet better?  What if that one thing didn’t result in you spending hours at the gym or trying a new diet plan?  What if it only took 1 min per day, every other day?

The One Resolution for 2022

So, what is it?   Litter.  Yes litter, that stuff that we see in parking lots, along roadsides, and too often in our own neighborhoods.

If you’re like me you might be thinking…but I don’t litter, so why is this such a problem? And you would be right as most of us don’t.  The good news is that since 2009, littering has gone down by over 50%.   Even with all that progress, Americans still left 50 billion pieces of litter on the ground last year.

Here are a few statistics to think about:

  • 90% of U.S. residents agree that litter is a problem in their state
  • Of the 50 billion pieces of litter, 24 billion are along roadways and 26 billion are along waterways
  • An estimated 207 million PPE items were littered on U.S. roadways and waterways through early fall 2020
  • More than 2,000 pieces of litter per mile

If we can agree that there’s a problem…then we can all be part of the solution.  So what can we do?    

Where Does Litter Come From?

Before we get to that, where does all this litter come from?  Most litter is the result of carelessness.  It blows out of over-stuffed garbage cans or from the back of a truck or boat. And yes, some comes from someone intentionally throwing it on the ground or out the window of their car.  Crazy, but true.

If littering were to stop today and waste was properly managed, and every American picked up 152 pieces of litter this year, we would have a litter-free nation in 2022.

3 Simple Solutions for Cleaning Up Our Act

So what can we do?  This is the exciting part and where we all need to commit to a few simple things:

  1. If we all picked up just one piece of litter a few times every week….it would all be gone. That’s the 1 minute every other day.
  2. Don’t overstuff your garbage can on trash night.  Seriously, just put the excess in your neighbor’s😊
  3. If you own a pickup truck or boat, don’t allow anyone to put trash in the back to blow away

There’s one more thing, and this is where we need to help the “litterbugs” amongst us see the light…call them out, respectfully of course.  When you see someone littering, kindly ask them to pick it up.   If they refuse, no need to argue…you just found your 1 piece of trash to pick up for the day.

Resolve for a Cleaner New Year in 2022

In addition to being unsightly, litter and plastics are contaminating our soil, oceans and harming our planet, and why we’re all in this together.

2022 can be the year we take the trash out and feel good about finally completing a New Year’s Resolution. 

Happy New Year and be well!

Interested in Other Ways to Clean Up in the New Year?

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