I have a confession to make: Sometimes, I have a trashy car.
Fast food wrappers, napkins and empty cups can often be found strewn about my floorboard.
I can sometimes feel embarrassed by this and I do make an honest effort to try and keep my car cleaned out.
I felt bad about the condition of my car until one day my husband said to me, “I’d rather have a dirty car than litter.”
had never really thought of the alternative until he said that. I would much prefer putting up with all the trash in my car instead of throwing that trash out my window and polluting the earth.
The whole topic of messy vehicles versus a messy planet started when I was driving in town and saw a person throw a fast food bag filled with wrappers and food out of their window onto the grass. The bag, along with food and their wrappers began to scatter across the median.
I can understand why people do a lot of things, but I just don’t understand why people litter. It seems much easier to me to throw the trash on your floorboard than it is to roll down your window and throw it out on the ground. Littering seems to take extra effort, and no one can possibly feel good doing it — not to mention it’s illegal and could land you a hefty fine. Littering is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky and you can be fined up to $500.
When people think of littering, they probably think of fast food debris, but there are plenty of other things people throw out their car windows without a second thought that are bad for the environment.
One example of this is cigarette butts. Many people — I used to be among them — think cigarette filters are made of cotton, so they’re relatively harmless to the environment. Cigarette filters are actually made of a plastic material that does not biodegrade. Once you throw a cigarette by the side of the road, it’s going to be affecting the environment for many, many years.
But even if cigarette butts were biodegradable, it wouldn’t mean tossing them onto the ground would be good for the environment. If everyone threw all their biodegradable trash on the ground, we would still have a big, environmentally unfriendly mess on our hands.
Another item that ends up thrown out of many people’s car windows is chewing gum. I’ll confess: I used to toss old chewing gum out my car window. Just like how I used to think cigarettes were made of cotton, I thought chewing gum would degrade naturally. But chewing gum is actually made of a plastic material that doesn’t biodegrade, so gum floats around in nature just like cigarette butts.
So here’s my challenge to you: instead of throwing trash — or anything — out your car window, just toss it on the floorboard (or in an ashtray for cigarettes) instead. Later on, you can clean out your car and feel good because you helped out the environment. And if anyone tries to give you a hard time about having a dirty car, just tell them you’re keeping the earth that much cleaner.
Amanda's Animal Fact of the Week
Southern elephant seals can dive more than 4,921 feet deep and remain submerged for up to two hours.