Less Litter, More Money

By: Sean, Courtney, & Maia

Did you know?

  • In the city of Wentzville, you can get a ticket for $80 for littering? In other cities, fines can get up to $2000.
  • The reason for recycling is to reuse curtain materials such as paper and plastic that can take years to break down.

Just the Facts

The U.S. spends 11.5 billion dollars on litter clean up every year, all around the world. 2.8 million people picked up 200 million pounds of litter during a nationwide litter pick up day. We spend all that money and there is still litter everywhere. Where do you think all the litter goes? Trash Island. It’s an island made of trash, two times as big as Texas, located in the Pacific Ocean. Also,1.9 billion tons of litter end up in the ocean every year, and 18% of litter ends up in lakes, rivers, and oceans. We are the ones who created Trash Island. Americans generate about 4 pounds of trash everyday. That may not sound like a lot, but that adds up to just about 250,000,000 pounds a year! Only about 87,000,000 pounds, or ⅓, of that is recycled. 52% of litter on the road is from a motorised vehicle. Cigarette butts, snack wrappers, take out food, & beverage containers are littered the most. Cigarette butts take 12 years to break down! All the toxic elements from cigarettes end up in soil and water ways. We can save money if we clean up Wentzville. Litter in a community can decrease its property values by 7%.

Who it Affects

Litter is a safety hazard, a breeding ground for fire and disease, and it impacts car insurance rates because thousands of auto accidents are litter-related. Ingesting litter causes injury or death to thousands of pets, wild and farm animals. More than a million birds and 100,000 marine animals die from getting tangled or choking on litter each year. Many small animals crawl into bottles or jars and get stuck and slowly starve to death. They also get caught in plastic six pack rings, plastic bags, fishing line and a multitude of throwaways. Birds that are stuck, can’t fly away from danger. Sometimes animals caught in six pack rings are strangled as they grow too big for the opening. This causes them to get cut, infected and die. Every year, millions of birds, fish and animals die from litter. Litter is a breeding ground for rats and disease-causing bacteria. Litter is ugly, and it affects the price of property around town. The more litter around town, and the houses will be cheaper because fewer people want to live there. LITTER DESTROYS THE BEAUTY OF A COMMUNITY!

The Great Pacfic Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch takes up about 2,143,731 miles of the Pacific Ocean. Many people don’t even know that the pacific ocean contains one of the largest landfills in the world. Texas can fit into the landfill twice, and every square mile contains at least 46,000 floating plastic pieces(Raghuvanshi). “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains almost 3.5 million tons of trash in the form of light bulbs, bottle caps, Popsicle sticks, bottles, cans, fishing gear, polystyrene cups, shoes, toys, and even toothbrushes. Plastic constitutes around 85% of the garbage floating in this great garbage patch.”(Raghuvanshi). A study from the Scripps Institution of Oceanology tells us that 9% of fish have plastic in their stomachs. Most of the litter at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch sinks down to “the ocean floor and affects marine life, and is ingested by various types of fish and other creatures. The plastic works its way through the food chain, and eventually ends up in humans who enjoying eating sea-food.”(Raghuvanshi).

Ways you can help

You can help by not littering yourself and spreading the word to all your family and friends. You can also help by only putting paper, plastic, and things that have the recycling logo in a recycling bin. Making sure that all of your food and trash gets thrown away before leaving a restaurant. Keep the beaches clean especially near the water. If you or someone you know smokes, make sure to dispose of your cigarettes correctly and not to throw them out a window or leave them on the ground. Turtles often think that plastic bags are jellyfish so if you can use eco-friendly bags or make sure that your plastic bags don’t blow away. As long as you take care of your own trash, you can make a difference in our environment. Informing other people about the problem will help also, because many people don’t know how much of an issue litter is.