Here are some interesting facts. 28% of the world's 'litter' is made up of cigarette butts, and just two of these babies can kill all the microorganisms in a liter of water in 48 hours. Yikes.
Plastic bags can trap and kill animals or end up in their stomachs, often causing death. And we all know about how birds can get caught in 6-pack rings.
I'm also wondering how much recycling never makes it into a recycling bin.
So, litter...what can we do about it?
You may initially be hesitant to touch a can or plastic bag on the sidewalk, but you'll be surprised how easy it is to change your attitude towards litter. When I was a kid, my family went on many backpacking and hiking trips with the Sierra Club. The Club's rule was to 'take only pictures, leave only footprints,' --- and moreover to leave the place cleaner than you found it. Though this is especially relevant in our parks and wild places, I say we extend this last part of the motto to everywhere we go.
It's a simple step to begin to be aware of litter around you. As you walk down the streets of Chicago or wherever you live, if and you see a bottle --- pick it up and toss it in the recycling.
This goes double for nature. You'll be surprised how great it feels to know that you helped clean up cans, bags, and bottles, and left a beautiful place more beautiful than when you arrived!