Leave No Trace, In Town


The other night, as a family, we decided that we would take a few grocery bags on our walk around the block and pick up any trash we would see along the way. We were not fully prepared with enough bags! Our walk was only around the block, but within those four corners we picked up close to 10 pounds of trash. We live across the street from an elementary school, so naturally there will be higher amount of litter on the grounds. But, I was surprised that a higher amount of trash was to be found within the front yards and gutters of people’s houses. One of the principles of Leave No Trace is to “Trash Your Trash”. We do not always have to be out in the forest or camping to practice Leave No Trace, we can do it right in our own neighborhoods. Maybe even in our own front yard!

On your next walk around the block, or when you take an “in-town” hike with your scouts, make sure to bring along a few trash bags. It would also be a good idea to bring some gloves (plastic, latex, vinyl, or work gloves) as most of the items you will be picking up are extremely gross. Some statistics claim that 50% of all littered items are cigarette butts… definitely not an item to pick up with your bare hand.

Here are some statistics that I found:

  • In a five year period, 75% of people admit to littering

  • 9 Billion tons of trash is dumped into the ocean every year

  • It costs $11.5 Billion to clean up litter every year (US)

  • The average amount of steps a person will hold a piece of trash before they litter is 12 steps

  • Each year, 250 million tons of trash is generated just in the US.

  • Most common objects littered: 33% Fast Food, 29% Paper, 28% Aluminum, 6% Glass, 2% Plastic, 2% Other

  • US Highways have higher percentages of trash, average of 6,700 items per mile

  • In 2012, more than 10 million pounds of trash was collected from beaches and waterways in 97 countries during a global cleanup effort. Included was 117 mattresses… really!?

  • 70% of the trash dumped into the oceans sinks straight to the bottom. Out of site… out of mind????

Trash From One Block