Neighborhood Cleanup for a Better Planet by Shannon L. Buck

Image By: alvimann at
Image By: alvimann at

(This article was originally published to Y! Contributor Network on August 29th, 2009.)

Neighborhood Cleanup for a Better Planet

Putting Trash in Its Rightful Place

I look around my small little town while walking each day. There is trash here and there. There are returnables here and there. It does not look very attractive. I live in Maine, and we have many tourists visiting year round. This, in-and-of-itself, should be enough reason for people to keep the towns and surrounding areas picked up. It is not, however.

I run a small childcare business from my home. The children and I are in the habit of visiting one of three parks on an almost daily basis. It is a lot of fun to run and play on the equipment, but there is always trash about. One day, we even found used condoms on the playground equipment.

My daycare children and I always leave these areas cleaner than we found them. We will clean an entire area before leaving a park. Sadly, when we return the next morning, the trash problem is just as bad. This surprises me, because people are throwing their trash on the ground when the trash cans are right next to them.

I collect returnables every day while walking. I bring them home and add them to the collection. Once in a while I bring them to the redemption center. I consider this my payment for cleaning up after people.

I’m not kidding. On one day I might come home with $1.00 in returnables. The next day, after taking the same route as the day before, I may have another .50 cents. I can easily earn at least $3.00 a week this way, sometimes more. Not a bad little sum.

If we want our children to “have a better future” we should not be allowing all of this littering. We need start paying attention to what is going on around us. Reporting the people whom we see deliberately littering. Whatever it takes clean up our neighborhoods. I agree that we shouldn’t have to clean up after others, but I want a healthier environment for my future grandchildren to grow up in.

Here, I will discuss some of the ways in which each of us can help to better our livable environments, no matter where we may reside.

1. When you go to a playground or park area, be sure to clean up after yourself before you leave. It is always a good idea to leave an area cleaner than it was when you arrived.

2. When cleaning up your own property, be sure to extend your cleaning efforts to the road and up to the property lines of all of your neighbors.

3. Businesses can do their part by 1) being sure to keep their business property cleaned up, 2) providing a recycling container outside for returnables, and 3) by providing trash receptacles outside.

4. Parks and recreation departments should be sure that activity areas are cleaned up each day.

5. Towns can be sure that there are plenty of trash cans and receptacles for returnables along sidewalks and other areas.

6. Recycling should be mandatory for everyone. Roadside pick up is a must. Certain people should not be able to get away with not recycling, and landlords should all be required to be sure that their tenants are recycling.

7. More effort in teaching children to reduce, reuse and recycle in school, at home and in their neighborhoods is another. For some reason, many children and teens are littering when out-and-about.

8. While walking, bring a trash bag and a reusable bag. The trash bag will obviously hold trash that you are nice enough to pick up. The reusable bag will hold the returnables that you find.

As you can see, there are many simple ways to care for our environments. This is important to our Earths’ future, and to societies’ future.

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