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Tell Me Tuesday: What do you do about litter?

Yes, I live and work in busy neighbourhoods in a big city, but that’s absolutely no excuse.  Is there anyone out there who thinks littering is okay?  Seriously?

I’m sure this has been the case for years and that I’ve just been a bit oblivious, but it recently became a big part of my daily life.  About four weeks ago, I started taking my puppy, Stanley, for walks around the block.  Because he’s still not allowed to go to the dog park (until this Friday!), I’ve been taking him around the neighbourhood.  And apparently I should have named Stanley “Hoover”, because he picks up and eats (or tries to eat) everything.

And I do mean everything: pinecones, wood chips (why are they everywhere?), twigs, leaves, and – oh yes – garbage.  Napkins, wrappers, paper cups, gum, plastic bags, bits of food, old shoes, random pieces of clothing…it’s all delicious to Stanley/Hoover.  And I have to pry all of these items out of his little mouth.  With my bare hands.


Stanley, with a particularly delicious stick. Mmmm. (C)Riannon John/WWF-Canada

It’s awful, and totally horrifying.  I come home from every walk appalled by the state of humanity – or at least, the state of our streets.  And now I’m noticing litter everywhere – on my way to work, in the subway, out enjoying summer activities.

Since I apparently have to touch all these dirty things anyway, I’ve started carrying a little garbage bag with me and collecting these items to throw out at home.  And that – germ phobia aside – actually feels pretty good.  It’s an easy, concrete way to help clean up the streets, and great practice for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, coming up in September!

Since there seems to be plenty of litter for everyone to pick up, all this made me wonder: what do you do to deal with litter?  And have you signed up for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup yet?


  • My 4 year old son picks up litter and puts it in trash cans when we go for walks to the park or to the store. He always asks me “who threw this on the grass, mommy?” My response is always “lazy people.” If a 4 year old knows enough to put the trash in the trash can, why can’t the rest of us? Throwing paper on the ground is one thing (it’s usually biodegradable anyway) but it makes me crazy when I see broken glass or plastic bottles or styrofoam cups on the ground. We’re the product of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We truly need to start acting like it.

  • Robin

    My dog picks up a water bottle or coffee cup every time we walk.

  • Dana Wood-Boissonneault

    I take my two dogs for a walk by the highway and pick up the litter on the way back. It is a 3km walk. The amount does get less if you do it every day. The worst is after the snow melts! It does look good though after the litter is gone!