Every Little Bit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


      AlthoughI'm not sure when I started collecting litter, I do know why I did. I got tiredof seeing a can in the woods and a fast-food bag in a ditch, or some otherscreamingly obvious piece of trash on the side of the street. No one was doinganything about it, and the amount of visible litter was just increasing. It wasas if everyone had grown so used to seeing it that they all thought it belongedthere.

I live on a wooded street where it is easy to walk without anysign of civilization. In other words, you could walk off the road three feet andbe in the woods. I didn't want my street looking like a dump, so about threeyears ago I made my first trip. I took a black garbage bag, nothing else, andheaded out to eliminate the litter. I found more than I planned. Not only did Ifind what could be seen from a car, but I also found many other things that weresmall, or buried. I made the 1.2-mile round trip and came back bearing a veryfull garbage bag.

Since then I've averaged at least four trips a year. Myoriginal plan has changed little. I've never gotten anything worse than prickerscratches. Often I set off at one o'clock and don't return until four o'clock.Sometimes my bag has ripped, and sometimes it has been full before I finished,and sometimes both have happened. Despite these obstacles, I feel good collectingthe litter. Every trip is a little different.

The sheer number of cans,bottles, broken glass and cigarette butts, along with other items, amazes me.Each category fluctuates, but, unfortunately, the whole still adds up to a lot oflitter.

After some of my trips, I've sorted my findings. A lot of what Ipicked up was recyclable. I don't know who is responsible for the littering, butI have my guesses. I can't understand why anyone would litter in the first place.I continue collecting because they continue to litter. I know 1.2 miles isn't alot compared with the rest of the earth, but I think every little bit matters, nomatter how small.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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