SustainAbility Newsletter

Why Litter Hurts

Snapping Turtle

Plastic Bags cause environmental problems.

Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency shows that somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year (reference: National Geographic News – September 2, 2003). Less than 1% of these bags are recycled. It cost more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one (reference: Christian Science Monitor News Paper).

Cigarettes are the most littered item on earth, with several trillion-cigarette butts littered worldwide each year! Following close behind are paper, cans, bottles, and all the other tangible personal property that is unlawfully tossed, scattered and abandoned outdoors. And with all this waste accumulating around us, the costs to humans, animals, and the environment are extremely high.

First, it is monetarily costly to employ people for cleaning up a city, in addition to tax payer monies spent on various expensive machinery for sweeping up streets, which will, in turn, create noise pollution. But the physical costs are even higher. Vermin and disease are rife in places with high amounts of trash. Litter in rivers and canals can pollute the water supply, and animals are often trapped or poisoned. Children fall on litter in playgrounds, sometimes requiring medical attention.

Auto accidents are caused by drivers attempting to avoid debris on highways. Small animals crawl into bottles or jars, get stuck and slowly starve to death. Or get caught in plastic six-pack rings, plastic bags, fishing line and a multitude of throw-aways. Millions of animals, birds and fish die every year from litter.

So what can be done about this onerous and pervasive problem? Well, imagine 100,000 people picking up one piece of trash a day. Just pick up a piece of litter today, then when you remember tomorrow, do it again and again and again. Follow up by creating a litter cleanup project in your neighborhood or local park with others in the community. And remember that recycling really does make a difference.

The items you recycle today come back in a variety of products, saving energy and resources while cutting pollution and creating jobs. Also, did you know that junk mail costs sixty-two million trees a year? Take action now to reduce this waste by signing up for a "Do Not Mail" list and to halt further unwanted mail, stop completing those warranty cards or registering for prizes or giveaways, which will result in your name being added to a mailing list. You'll not only be helping the environment and our forests, but you'll be clearing your mailbox of all that pesky junk!

Start today to make your neighborhood, your city and the world a better place. Stop littering, recycle, pick up trash and encourage others to do the same.

Fast Facts

  • As more and more cars and trucks travel the state highways and interstates, the cost to keep them clean increases by approximately 20 percent each year.
  • The majority of litter on major interstates is debris from unsecured loads on commercial trucks, including commercial carriers hauling trash without tarps.
  • Eight out of ten motorists believe people litter because it is easier than saving trash to discard later.


References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International

The International Sustainability Council

The US Environmental Protection Agency

Organic Farming Research Foundation

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Defense Council


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

The Sustainability Campaign

Sustainable GlobeAudubon Lifestyles and the International Sustainability Council is partnering on a project called The Sustainability Campaign.  In essence the Campaign is aimed at creating awareness about the complex issues of sustainability, while forging partnerships with Universities, Government Agencies, Businesses and Not-for-Profit organizations for the purpose of taking immediate action in regard to how we all manage ourselves within each of our personal and professional lives.

As we have said quite often, “We cannot wish ourselves to a sustainable future.  We must work ourselves to a sustainable future, one person and one place at a time.”  We cannot let ourselves become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the issues we are facing.  This will lead us to giving up and not taking any actions.  Everyone can do something, and if we all did those small things that may seem inconsequential the collective results can be huge and very meaningful.

The SustainAbility Newsletter is one communication vehicle that we have created to continue to spread the message about sustainability.  We will include what might seem like simple examples of plain old conservation techniques.  But, these plain old conservation techniques are the foundation blocks of sustainability.

The products that you choose to purchase make a difference.  The way you manage your business makes a difference.  The present sorry state of our economy is showing results of past unsustainable practices.  It is past time for a change!  We must change our ways and we must focus on sustainable economic, environmental and social practices.

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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles

The International Sustainability Council


Green Cities

The Daily Green


Sustainability Campaign

Energy Star

Green Hotels List

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Sponsors are a critically important part to the success of ISC-Audubon. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating sustainability, we offer all of our programs to our members free of charge, and are publicly available for download on our website.

ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

Click here to learn more about this opportunity. 


A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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