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Throwaway Society: Who shares responsibility?

Posted Sep 13 2008 11:53pm
Tod ay, I participated in my third voluntary litter clean-up in three years (no, you don't have to be a convict to pick up litter in your community). I was a volunteer (a true-blue, wake up early on a Saturday, type of volunteer). Very worthy cause and I know that I am one person trying my best to clean-up a tidal wave of litter and irresponsibility. The trash bags we used were cleverly printed "every piece of litter has a face." Oh so true, the throwaway society has those the actually get their trash in the circular file and others that have complete and utter disregard and use the ground as their trash can. It's a shame.

But as I spent four hours, me, a pick-up stick, a bag and the occassional car roaring past me, I started thinking. Oh no, someti mes that's not a good thing, but I actually pondered, who is also responsible for this mess? As I picked up litter, I mentally kept track of what I picked up and the source:

Cigarette butts (lots, anonymous since the cigarette companies don't actually print their company name of the butt portion of the cigarette, clever, eh?);

Cigarrete boxes (Marlboro seemed to be a popular one this stretch of road);

Styrofoam peanut (no source);

Taco Bell wrappers (BINGO);

McDonald's bag (I'm not lovin' it);

Jaegermiester and Ancient Age Whiskey bottle;

Beer cans (Bud Light seemed to prevail);

44 oz Big Gulp from 7-11 (lots of these);

Starbucks cups and the cardboard holders;

Weird stuff like breathing masks, lots of broken particle board, weathered cardboard boxes; bottled water.

So, after seeing plenty of corporate-perpetuated trash littering our local roads, I pondered, why a ren't these companies more aggressively sponsoring litter clean-ups like this or better yet, get your employees out here and clean up the mess your corporation shares responsibility in making.

So, taking this even further, while I had time to ponder - I'm thinking about starting a open post blog where interested citizens in the US can post litter they find in their neighborhood, what company is partly responsible for this litter, and using that information to push these corporations to exhibit true corporate responibility and take care of the problem. I want to always be a good neighbor where I can, in the day and age where corporate food establishments exist in virtually every street corner in almost every community, shouldn't we expect that they too be good neighbors and clean up after themselves? More to come, feedback welcome on the concept.

What do you think?

Sean
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