Did you know that each American produces roughly 4.4 pounds of trash each day? Sadly, much of that trash ends up on roadsides, parking lots, or in lakes, streams, and oceans. Litter is costly to clean up and impacts our economy and our quality of life. In 2009, a study titled Litter in America found that litter clean up costs more than $11.5 BILLION and that the presence of litter in your neighborhood decreases property values by seven percent. Excessive litter on the streets can make it hard to attract new business development as well. The volunteers of the Jonesboro Beautification Commission believe the citizens of Jonesboro deserve better. We can do better.
What can you do? Every single person can be responsible for disposing of trash properly. Don’t throw your garbage out the window of your car, don’t toss cigarette butts, or leave drink cups in the park. Go a step further - pick up trash where you are. If you see paper blowing across the parking lot, pick it up. If you find coke cans left behind on the park bench, find a trash can. Do your part, it’s a small thing. The sanitation department reports that loose trash often blows out of garbage cans as they are dumped into sanitation trucks; make sure your trash is contained in bags inside the can. Be aware that objects in the back of pickup trucks often blow out as you drive down the road. Refrain from putting garbage in the bed of your pickup and secure other lightweight objects.
Anyone can organize a neighborhood clean up. If you notice that your street could use a little help, pick a day, use social media, flyers, or call your neighbors and ask them to help clean up the neighborhood. You may be surprised at how many will be glad to come help. Notify the City sanitation department if you have more trash than will fit in your trash can and they will be glad to pick it up on their next run.
The Natural State could use some help. If your civic group, Sunday School class, or other organization is looking for a project, consider the Arkansas Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway program. This program seeks to increase public awareness of the monumental task of keeping Arkansas’ roadways clean and to promote public involvement. To learn more, click here or email Info@ardot.gov. If you would rather act more informally, perhaps your group can simply commit to picking up trash regularly in a certain area, such as a neighborhood park or along a city street near your workplace.
Educate your children on the importance of not littering. Explain that litter affects the environment, impacts climate change, and can be harmful to wildlife or domestic pets. Living in an area filled with debris and junk erodes community pride and spirit. Teach children to pick up trash when they see it by having them help with neighborhood clean ups.
Recycle! Sadly only 25 percent of Jonesboro homes participate in the recycling program. A blue garbage can to put your recycling in only costs $25 and is available by calling the City Sanitation Department at 932-3042. Click here to learn what can be recycled in Jonesboro and get busy. Another thought: the best way to reduce plastic waste is to stop buying it! Seriously, give up the bad habit of buying bottled water and simply buy each family member a reusable water bottle. Buy products in plastic that can be recycled - currently in Jonesboro that means plastics labeled with a 1 or a 2 on the bottom of the container. Put your groceries in reusable bags instead of plastic or paper.
Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in America and they can take up to five years to decompose. Jonesboro is no different: cigarette butts accumulate by the thousands at our intersections. Dispose of your cigarette butts properly in either trash cans or specially designated butt bins.
Please note that littering of any kind is a crime in Jonesboro. You can be ticketed and fined if caught or you may work off your fine by picking up trash yourself on weekends.
As you can see, you can play an important part in keeping your community clean and it doesn’t have to take much time or effort on your part.