Why Do People Litter?

Why do People Litter?

I ask myself that question every time I see trash on the roads, roadsides, sidewalks, or when someone is spitting out their chewing gums. There are several kinds, but the most common types of trash are everyday items that could easily end up in an “official” trash can if people made sure of it. It boggles my mind what kind of things people throw away. People, who haven’t started living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Sometimes when I walk and see trash, I pick it up and put it in a trash can. Sure, it’s not always possible, especially during the pandemic, but when I see people littering, and I don’t pick it up, I feel like I was part of the crime… Do you feel the same?

The frustrating part is, a lot of these things people throw away could easily be recycled, reused, or repurposed

So, why DO people litter?

Maybe because they are not thinking about the consequences. People, who already live an eco-friendly lifestyle need to open these people’s eyes because no one else will. Most things people throw away likely end up in the oceans. So it’s not only gross, and disappointing, it’s also deadly, and needs to be stopped. 

Our job is to educate these people, help them understand the consequences, make them see the future of that piece they had just dropped on purpose. If enough of us tell them, there is no way, they will continue doing it. Paint a picture. Shock them. 

Things People Throw Away

I’ve decided to take my own advice: paint pictures and shock. I collected the most common types of trash around me to shock those littering ones.  It’s kind of sad to call this list a “Top 10 List”, but it’s hard not to. You can imagine how much fun it was to photograph things people throw away…

The Most Common Types of Trash Around Me

Flicking cigarette butts, trashing the boxes

flicking cigarette butts plastic filter most common types of trash things people throw away

Have you ever walked or driven by, and realize, flicking cigarette butts from cars is normal? Can’t tell you how many times I witness this. I’m behind them on the highway, so I usually get some of it too. It’s gross. 

Sometimes I wish I could get out, get the butt, walk to their car and give it back, saying: ‘Excuse me, you lost this’. They would probably end me.

But not only drivers are flicking cigarette butts, walking pedestrians, or workers on cigarette breaks do the same as well. 

For some mysterious reason, when there is a trash can, there are always butts on the floor. People are just flicking cigarette butts in that direction. Why do people think that counts? And to go back to our original question: Why do people litter?

Cigarette filters contain plastic

They don’t realize this and so flicking cigarette butts to the side of the road is the same as littering plastic. It can lay around for decades. When the rain washes them away, they end up in the waters, where the soaked butts release their nicotine and chemical content. This solution is toxic to animals – I should know, I spray my strawberry plants with it, to get rid of lice. 

And let’s not forget about the boxes of cigarettes as well:(. 

litter, waste in the woods, most common types of trash, flicking cigarette butts

Chewing gum, and its wrapping paper

spitting out their chewing gums and their papers trash on the ground, most common types of trash, litter

Why are people throwing away or spitting out their chewing gums? I have no idea. The already chewed gums are just as bad as the cigarette butts. Have you ever seen someone spit one out? Did you do anything?

How to stop people from spitting out their chewing gums forever?

When I have a passenger in my car who spits one out, I stop my car and tell them to either pick it up or get out.

They think I’m kidding, so I paint THE picture:

  • They’re spitting out their chewing gums
  • Someone steps in them
  • They bring the gums home on the bottom of their shoe
  • Maybe even step on the carpet.  

And just as easily they could be on the receiving end. 

why do people littter, spitting out their chewing gums, most common types of trash

What goes around comes around.

Most chewing gums are still made of synthetic plastics which don’t biodegrade. Even worse, if an animal eats them, they could die from the toxins that spread in their stomach. Also, the gums can stick in their feathers or fur, which will limit their movements. So people should just stop spitting out their chewing gums.

Remember, every time You and I don’t throw one away or spit one out, there is one less out there.

Tissue Paper

Okay, sure, it’s paper. But still disgusting. Maybe there are some chewing gums stuck in them? 

tissue paper, kleenex most common types of trash, things people throw away, spitting out their chewing gums

Soda Cans

The material of the soda cans is aluminum, which is recyclable, but the environmental footprint of the production process is big, so the only way to decrease it is by buying less of this material. However, thrown-away soda can are still dangerous to animals, and humans as well, because after stepping on them, lots of sharp edges appear.   

trashed sodacans and garbage plastic bags left in the woods, most common types of trash

Medication bottles and blister packs

So many things are packed in healthcare, because they need to be sterile, such as gloves, needles, band-aids. Medicines need to be in blister packs or plastic bottles as well. They are recyclable, but what happens to the ones thrown away on the streets and roads?

medicine plastic wraps and bottles things people throw away, and litter, most common types of trash

Why do People Litter Plastic Bottles?

Plastic bottles are one of the top hot topics for environmentalists because if we think about it, it’s not really hard to replace them, however, we still use them for some reason. I have collected ways on how to stop using plastic bottles, try them. One less plastic bottle is already a great thing. 

And if we still have some at home, we can repurpose them, create a cool DIY Time Capsule, OR repurpose the caps at least. Many things can be repurposed in our homes. And by the way, have you ever thought about the difference between recycling and repurposing

most common types of trash, plastic bottles pile in nature

Glass Bottles

Did you know that glasses are made of heated sand? The sad part is that chemicals are added during the production process, and when everything is heated, they release toxic gas.

When they are thrown away in the forests, parks, streets, and brake, the pieces are dangerous for both animals and us, if we step in them. 

The only good news is when we recycle it, and it’s melted again, we get the same glass material, so producers don’t have to use more sand.

most common types of trash, glass bottles, things people throw away in the woods

Chips, chocolate, candy and other snack bags

It’s bad enough that these bags are thrown on the side roads, but the materials of these bags are usually made of different kinds of plastic materials. If the recycling companies would separate these materials, it would not be time- and cost-effective. So when you have this kind of litter, don’t recycle it, just throw it in a regular trash can.

plastic bags of chips and sweets things people throw away to roadsides instead of trash cans, most common types of trash

Plastic coffee cups

These plastic cups usually come from coffee vending machines in offices, hospitals, banks, all kinds of waiting rooms. Unfortunately, after people get their coffee or hot chocolate, some would go out for a cigarette. While they are talking, they put their cup down, and by the time they are done with the cigs, they forget about their coffee, or it gets cold, or they just think they will get back to it later. In other cases, the cup itself becomes a trashcan. After they are forgotten, a little wind comes, and then they just end up everywhere. 

At least that’s what I hope is happening when I see cups like this, instead of throwing them on the streets on purpose.  

Why do people litter plastic cups

The Things People Throw Away...

These are the most common types of trash around me, because of the people, who haven’t started living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Why do people litter? It’s one of the most annoying habits I wish would fade away. Hopefully, seeing these photos of things people throw away will shock some of them and open their eyes.

Please, find a trash can!

Even better, recycle, reuse and repurpose, whatever you can! I’ve gathered things around the house which you can easily repurpose and reuse again.

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