Walking this morning, I passed by random pieces of litter gathering in fields, tucked in bushes, strewn on the street–all thoughtlessly, intentionally left behind. Outnumbering all other types of litter I collected were these little plastic bags filled with what was once fresh fruit for the students at the nearby elementary school. Providing fresh fruit is a great thing to do, but to cut it up and stuff it in these bags destroys its freshness, limits its shelf life and provides so much extra packaging waste, plastic waste at that! If these bags were biodegradable that would be one thing, but they are not.
The bags have no tag or label kindly stating “Please throw away responsibly.” I suppose Del Monte believes kids will just naturally throw these bags in a trash can or recycling bin after they’ve eaten the fruit, but sadly at least in this part of Chicago that is not the case. This snack is distributed Thursdays at lunchtime it seems, for like clockwork every Thursday afternoon these bags are found all around the schoolyard and beyond. I don’t know who is failing, the parents for not teaching their kids not to litter or the teachers for not demonstrating and emphasizing the importance of not littering. Doesn’t anyone remember the virtue of Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute? Perhaps it’s the lack of funding for Public Service Announcements (PSAs) regarding polluting that has led to the disinterest today. Was it messages like those decades ago, “Don’t be a litterbug” that made us want to keep the earth clean? Just four weeks ago we celebrated Earth Day, yet I must ask, can’t we get ourselves in the habit of cleaning up our environment everyday instead of just once a year? Perhaps companies that make snack foods and disposable items can start adding a little sweet request on their package reminding all ye little ones (as well as adults;) to please take of the earth and don’t pollute.
Time to tidy things up, Cheers!