WORKING IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Working As An Individual
Leading by example is the best way to influence your friends, family, neighbors, and even perfect strangers when it comes to preventing litter. If you see litter, consider picking it up rather than thinking someone else will do it. How does that help prevent litter? There have been many so-called “broken window” studies that demonstrate that littering is reduced or even eliminated if an area is cleaned and kept clean.
Tools & Tips of the Trade
- Bright clothing
- Walk against traffic
Cover your trash and recyclables when heading to your transfer station so that it doesn’t blow out of your vehicle leaving a litter trail. If you have curbside pickup, make sure that your trashcan and recycling bins are covered/secured so neither the wind nor animals strew items all over your street. Report commercial vehicles to the State Police if you see them littering!
Share Information that’s been prepared for other events. CCALC has quite a few educational 8×11 “posters” that can be adapted for your town, school, business, or personal use. Make sure that you have permission to post them before you hang them somewhere visible. Have an event coming up: even a ZOOM event? The more awareness we raise, the more likely we’ll see a reduction in litter. Invite a board member to attend your event by contacting email@example.com
Share these Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos with your friends and family. They are also on our YouTube channel.
Working With Your Town
While we’re all Cape Cod towns, sometimes things are managed a little differently from one to the next. What’s most important is that you do reach out to your town officials to make them aware of the problem and that you want to be part of the solution. The attached PDF will provide you with an idea of where to start in your town.
Who should you contact?
In most cases, the Department of Public Works would be your best bet as they usually are responsible for assessing the situation. Certainly, you could contact your local elected officials as well if you so choose.
|Email or phone
|Email or phone
|Richard J. Waldo, P.E.
|Email or phone
|DPW Admin Supervisor
|Litter on State Highways?
Working With Your Business Community
CCALC has worked with several Chambers of Commerce as well as the Rotary and Lions Clubs. These organizations understand the importance of a litter free Cape Cod and share information with their membership routinely. CCALC has also worked with individual businesses, other non-profits and quasi-governmental agencies.
But how could you, as an individual, make a pitch to this kind of stakeholder or a local business whose wrappers, cups, etc. you see in your town? Here are a few ideas:
- Take pictures of their branded litter, including the location where it’s found
- Research the name of the owner or manager of the business
- Send them a letter including the picture and ask how you (we) can help
- Call to make an appointment to see them
- If you just stop in, try to do it when the store is not overly busy so that they can give you their full attention
- Acknowledge that you’re sure it was their patrons who littered, not them personally
- Ask them how you (we) could work together to educate their customers
- Offer to create a simple poster (or use one that we’ve already developed) for posting in a prominent place in their establishment
- Thank them for meeting with you about this critical topic
- Follow up, whether with good news (less litter; lidded trash cans) or with bad news (seemingly more litter; not taking recommendations)
When they realize your visit or letter wasn’t a one-and-done, they may take more action.
Working With Your Schools
Children’s brains are like sponges. They love to learn new things and love to share what they’ve learned with family and friends. Getting into the school system can be challenging in the best of times, but what better place to start?
Engaging your school
CCALC recognizes that the pandemic interfered with school systems but offers this guidance for future use. Parents who are homeschooling their children can take them on a ‘field trip’ designed to point out the beauty of Cape Cod as well as some of the challenges that litter presents. Parents are encouraged to bring litter picking equipment along on the field trip and to lead by example.
School engagement can be challenging, but if you’re a parent or grandparent with a child in a certain district, you already have a foot in the door. Not only does your young relative attend the school, but as a guardian and a taxpayer, you also can have some influence over what is taught and/or extra-curricular activities are offered. Here are some ideas:
- Are you in the PTA/PTO? You have more influence than you think. Put the topic on your agenda. Get the organization engaged which should transfer to the school and the kids being engaged.
- Ask about introducing litter as a topic to the Environmental Club. No club? It’s probably time to get one started with all the concerns over climate change.
- How about encouraging a litter clean up in the school yard or in the surrounding area? You’ll be surprised how much fun the kids will have and you’ll be able to talk about the damage that the litter causes, whether just aesthetically (the school yard looks a mess) or environmentally (the litter enters the storm drain polluting our surrounding water bodies) or its impact on wildlife and aquatic life (plastics consumed by birds, mammals and fish).
- Need someone else to do the talking? Ask someone from CCALC to come to the next meeting (whether in person or via ZOOM).
Sometimes younger children need something physical acknowledging their good deeds and/or commitment to resolve a problem. CCALC designed some downloadable ‘pledges’ for your consideration. Please feel free to use them and share them. Two simple pledges can be found on the I’ll Take the Pledge page.