by Brenna Timm 

litter in fort collins

Litter in Our city

Whether we are enjoying window-shopping in downtown or playing with the kids in a park, we are constantly faced with litter. This can be anything from cigarette butts to the plastic wrapped used for your picnic. It is hard to ignore our waste when we have a big renovation project. However, when we are traveling the town, what we do with our trash slips to the back of the mind. So, what really is litter, and what are the consequences?

Cigarette butts

Through the years, smoking has gone through waves of popularity and acceptance, and it is still something commonplace. It also seems common for used cigarettes to be scattered in the grass or along the streets. The solution is to find an ashtray, which are usually spread around city in clear places. But here’s why it is so important: cigarette butts are not biodegradable. In past decades, cigarette filters were made using cotton, a natural material capable of decay through living organisms. Recently, we changed the filters to be made with plastic. Plastic doesn’t break down from living organisms, making it long lasting and potentially dangerous. Consider learning more about cigarettes and the environment here.

Plastics and Trash

It can be easy to lose a plastic bag to the wind. It’s easy to miss the trash can and leave your leftovers lying about. However, this doesn’t mean they easily go away. As mentioned, plastic isn’t biodegradable, so it won’t just disappear. There are times that animals find the left behind trash and try to eat it or collect it. Also, having our litter in public places makes them feel less inviting. Who really wants to walk through Old Town if there is a bunch of trash up against all of the buildings? Take care to keep an eye on your waste so it doesn’t blow away.

Beyond the City

The littering problem is about more than just the inner workings of a city. It travels up into the mountains, threatening the natural environment we wish to keep untainted. A recent Coloradoan article by Jacy Marmaduke talks about the littering of shooting and non-shooting areas. Not only are old shells and orange clay left behind, but far stranger things like a satellite dish or a can of WD-40. This is a far greater problem than cleaning up after yourself.

The land isn’t our dumping ground, and we have created ways to deal with our litter and trash. Now we need to use them.