You find yourself unable to speak if someone drops a lit cigarette on the seafront where children walk barefoot.
A well-dressed person throws litter and you can’t bring yourself to ask if it is something they accidentally dropped.
Not knowing what to say when someone rises from their seat on a train leaving their coffee cup, crisp packets and sandwich wrapper on the table.
You are left wondering whether leaving your neatly folded newspaper on the train is a gift to the next passenger or makes you guilty of littering.
You pick up a decent looking carrier bag hanging on a tree only to find it has dog poo inside.
Being overwhelmed by the amount of plastic carrier bags you save.
Being overwhelmed by the amount of ‘Bags for life’ accumulated by your household.
Your shopping trolley is full of food that has been reduced simply because you can’t bear the idea of waste.
You can’t bring yourself to buy a helium balloon. The world’s supply of helium is being depleted.
You can’t bring yourself to buy rubber party balloons for fear they will get into the ecosystem and kill dolphins.
You cover perfectly serviceable clothes in ink in a futile attempt to refill your computer ink cartridges.
The drawers of your desk are full of plastic bags for re-cycling ink cartridges.
Most arguments with those you live with centre around what can and can’t be recycled.
You find yourself washing up plastic milk bottles and empty cans of dog food so they can be re-cycled.
You start removing plastic from your friend’s kitchen bin as you are sure they can be recycled.
Your garden begins to look like a scrapyard because you are not sure what do to with the old car parts you find littering the countryside.
You pick up what seem to be lost items, only to discover they are (a) stolen (b) discarded (c) both.
The inside of your car is all sticky from recycling tins and bottles.
Finding the car full of empty bottles and bags of recycling when you are off to a wedding.
Being infuriated when you can’t throw rose petals over a bride and groom coming out of a church wedding because it is classified as ‘littering’.
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7 thoughts on “Diary of a litter-picker: you know you are British when”
You exchange waste with your daughter – her local council collects food waste but not plastics, and yours collects plastic but not food!
I have a compost heap, which is endlessly fascinating. After a while it doesn’t seem to grow despite the grass clippings piled onto it.
Sophie, you are brilliant!
Thank you! The encouragement helps to keep me litter-picking.
Our littering culture seems at times like an epidemic. Education is one key. Thank goodness for the Eco-Schools programme and all of us who litter pick regularly.
Once you begin to collect litter, you will never throw it again. Taking school children litter-picking is essential – although it is dangerous for them to clean road verges.
When your local council starts getting picky all of a sudden about what to re-cycle: apparently some plastics are now ‘the wrong type of plastic’! Sophie, your diary is brilliant and should be compulsive viewing in schools, thank you.