People who make the small effort it takes to pick up trash often find that they've inspired their neighbors to do the same. And when a critical mass of people on your block keep the street clean, your block is lovelier and there's a sense of pride up and down the block. You're also more likely to get to know your friendlier neighbors because you'll be out on the street a bit more.
You may agree with all of that and still think, "but why in the world do I have to actually pick it up myself?" It sounds gross and like a total pain. But it's actually not if you follow my advice.
To do this Instructable, you need:
-Napkins or tissue papers
-Access to trash and/or recycling cans
Picking up trash in front of your building is an item on the Neighbor's Checklist.
Step 1: Be Prepared
Step 2: Find a Moment to Pause
Realistically, most of us aren't that motivated. It's much more likely that we have a very narrow window for picking up trash, when we're walking back into our buildings on the way home from work or a weekend errand. I find that the best time for me is on my way home from work; I usually don't have too many things in my hand, and I'm on my way to a place that definitely has a trash can. I've also occasionally found that it's easy to pick up less disgusting items when I'm on my way in or out from an errand on the weekend. I also often pick up paper trash, like door handle ads, on my way home from my daily run.
You should look for these occasions and remind yourself to stop for a second and pick up trash. I don't stop all the time; what usually gets me to pause is when I see street trash that just can't be ignored. Today I saw an unusually bad build up of various kinds of trash. So I stopped.
At a previous home, I would occasionally collect all of the paper ads on the stairs, porch and sidewalk of the house next to me after the elderly woman who lived there moved out and it went up for sale. It would often just be ridiculous looking, and it took less than a minute to collect all of the trash; I disposed of them in the trash can on the corner.
I also found that I had to do a lot of trash pick up last spring when there was a competitive election in my neighborhood. One of the candidates made it a habit to rip off all of the other candidate's door handle ads in the neighborhood and leave them scrunched up in odd places around my building. My recycling output increased a lot in the week leading up to the election.
Step 3: Pick It Up!
For the trash that you are fine handling au natural, which is usually paper ads on the door handle or stoop, just pick it up.
Step 4: Dispose of It
Since it's trash day today, I found a garbage can right next to my building and put the cup and lid right into the can. Some streets also have trash cans on the corner. If you put your trash into someone else's garbage can, make sure that you close it securely.
If you picked up dry paper trash, bring it into your home and put it into your recycling can with your normal paper recycling.
Step 5: Germaphobe Option: Wash Your Hands
Step 6: Enjoy Your Clean Sidewalk!
And of course, don't litter!