litter coca cola

Question: Driving Instructor, my name is Frank, and I am a retired restaurant owner. I served great food, at a good price, for forty years. I also made sure that the inside of my restaurant was cleaned, and the outside area was swept, each and every day. I know my customers appreciated it, because I got positive comments on a regular basis.

That is one of the reasons I do not understand people who litter. If people appreciate a clean restaurant, why don’t they want to be able to appreciate a clean environment as well?

Today, for example, I saw yet another driver throw a cigarette butt out of their car window. Apparently that driver believes, as I suppose do the thousands of others who do this same thing on a daily basis, that there is a parallel universe into which their cigarette butt will suddenly, and magically, disappears. The truth is that my one year old grandson will have graduated from college before the filter of that one cigarette butt completely biodegrades.

Driving Instructor, now that I have more free time, I want to get involved in the “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign, as a volunteer. I want Texas to be just as beautiful for my grandson to enjoy as it has been for me.

So that I am better informed, can you please clarify for me how the “Texas Litter Abatement Act” defines litter?

Answer: Frank, throwing litter on the ground is a terrible thing to do; as a former restaurateur, you know that it is almost as bad as putting iceberg lettuce on a Caesar salad!

Seriously though, you are right. It’s disappointing that some people treat the environment as their personal trash can. Some of these individuals are just plain thoughtless. Many others, however, may not have been given the opportunity to learn about litter and to understand the significant and long term consequences that result from it.

I truly believe that most people, who currently do litter, with information provided by concerned volunteers like yourself and others, will happily commit to dispose of their trash properly and will want to do their part to help keep Texas beautiful!

There are two broad categories of litter: decayable waste and non-decayable solid waste.

The Texas Litter Abatement Act defines them as follows:

  • Decayable waste: Waste from a public or private establishment, residence or restaurant, including animal and vegetable material.
  • Non-decayable solid waste: Solid waste, except ashes, including: combustible material such as paper, rags, cartons, wood, furniture, rubber, plastics, yard trimmings and leaves, non-combustible solid waste such as glass, crockery, tin or aluminum cans, and metal furniture; discarded or worn out materials and machinery such as motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and old appliances.

A driver who throws litter out of their vehicle probably rationalizes it by thinking, “It’s just one small piece of trash.” The problem is, when this same act occurs in Texas an estimated 144,000 times each day, it all adds up.

So be cool. Be kind. Don’t litter!