Trash, By Any Other Name, is Still Despicable

It goes by many names in many places: in Spain, it is called basura; in Sweden it is known as papperskorgen; Italians refer to it as spazzatura; here in America it even has many monikers – trash, garbage, refuse, litter. Though it may sound exotic in those other languages, litter, by any other name, is despicable and for parks and rec professionals it is probably public enemy number one. To be honest, I have never understood the psyche of litter …

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5 comments on “Trash, By Any Other Name, is Still Despicable

  1. Barb Burkholder on said:

    When I was in charge of all of our camps, I asked the counselors to please do a session on littering each week and to teach the campers their responsibility to Mother Earth. After each talk, the kids were taken on an “Ecology Clean Up.” We gave the kids rubber gloves and trash bags. They were put into groups. We told them that if they could fill their bags, that they would get a special treat. This was a great way to clean up the parks and each child got a cold treat, usually a popsicle or something like an ice cream sandwich. The kids heard from speakers weekly talking about keeping the environment clean and their responsibility as a citizen to keep America beautiful. I hope that this message is still being taught.

  2. A “litter free” environment is possible if folks take ownership in the area. Business owners taking 10 minutes to clean sidewalks and pick up trash, not broom it into the gutter for “the city” to clean up, ANY employee bending down to pick up trash and put it in a receptacle (good role model and a little exercise to boot!) ala Walt Disney Resorts. I coached middle school and high school summer baseball and always had the team pick up around the dugout and field, leaving the site, home or away, better than we found it. I guess, in the end, it’s about common courtesy…

    • Randy on said:

      Barb: I like the idea of rewarding the kids for positive behavior, as long as the reward does not outweigh the greater lesson – which is, a clean environment is the right thing to strive for. In the case you describe, a cold treat on a hot day after picking up trash is spot on…thanks for the idea…Randy

      Tom: you’re right, and it starts at the top. If the boss is out there picking up trash, then nobody in the chain of command can see it as “beneath them.” A good leader doesn’t demand things of subordinates that he or she is not willing to do and will take time to set the example whenever possible…thanks for the input…Randy

  3. George on said:

    I have tought my family to leave a plase they visit looking better then when they came;like picnic or fishing and hunting areas and there sports fields. I work for a county park system fo 28 years and say something to somone on avage once a week about picking up trash or recycling.There are 15 houses on my block and only me and one other but out recyclen each week.

  4. Alejandro Soto on said:

    I advocate the practice of “pack it in, pack it out.” In San Antonio, we have automated trash pick-up and have 96 gallon blue recyclable and brown trash containers at home. We carry food items to the parks in some type of container, often a plastic bag. We can use that same container to hold the leftover items to take home for placing into the proper receptacle. The City should not have to collect our trash at our parks and should not have to pick up after anyone. The take-it home practice save the City money and also promotes recycling.

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