You know who throws garbage out of their car window?

by Sandra Stringer

I’m a home body. I don’t really WANT to leave my house because it includes a person I love, an animal I love, books aplenty, and unhealthy but delicious snacks. But it’s also true that when I do leave the house, I tend to be glad I did.

Now, this may not sound like much fun, but bear with me.

A different kind of road rage
Trash in the woods
Before (not actually, but it was a lot like this). You can click on the picture to see where this really came from. By Michelangelo-36 (Own work).

When I’m driving around James Island, nothing drives me more nuts than seeing trash on the side of the road. Back in January I went on a cleaning expedition with a bunch of other James Islanders on Mosquito Beach, and it re-awakened my outrage that people think throwing trash anywhere other than a trashcan is okay.

Seriously, what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is wrong with people? Your trash does not go out your car window. It doesn’t go on the side of the road or on the ground or into the marsh.

Trash goes on the floor in front of your passenger seat until it starts to spill over to your side of the car. Then you get a large garbage bag, load it up, and put it in your trash barrel at home. Simple.

You know who throws garbage out their car window? People who hate America, that’s who.

My little slice of America

So anyway, I picked the spot that has been annoying me the most, my own neighborhood. I used a terrific invention which I assume is called the Grabber Stick because that is the proper, logical name for it, and I went trash hunting.

Beautiful woodland scene
After (not really, but it felt like this). You can click on the picture to see where this really came from. By Antiquary (Own work).

I probably only cleaned up about 50 yards of prime James Island side-of-the-road, but I filled three garbage bags with cans, bottles, candy wrappers, about 30 feet of that yellow tape that the police use to rope off a crime/accident scene (?!), and many different shapes and sizes of Styrofoam objects (that seemed to prove the scientific data saying that the stuff can last a good 50 years to eternity lying around in the elements).  I also found a broken plastic table.

It took about an hour, I got a little exercise, and people honked their car horns at me because I think they wanted to tell me how awesome I am.

Give a hoot, don’t throw your trash out of your car window

I admit, I probably should have remembered to do before and after pictures, but the photos you see here are very close representations.

I know, it seems like a weird thing to do, but you know what? I’m happy whenever I drive by that little cleaned up strip of land.

Of course I know some unfortunate excuse for a human will start the trashening and the garbaging all over again, but for now I’ll enjoy the view…and start eyeballing the next little section in my neck of the woods that looks like the site of a recent week long rave.

Yes, I’m encouraging you to do this. I’ve purchased a reflective vest, I’ve got a cool grabber stick that I found at Lowe’s, and there’s still a little bit of the pleasant weather left to do this without having it be an invitation to heat stroke. Don’t you want to be cool like me?

What you can do

If you like the idea of cleaning things up and making everything look nice, you have some options besides just keeping your own neighborhood tidied up. One is James Island Pride. They don’t have another clean up scheduled until May (9 am on May 6), but they have a Facebook page and if you want you can join their group.

You can also start an Adopt A Highway group with your business or join a Palmetto Pride Clean Team.

Make sure to take lots of pictures, whichever option you choose, make a Facebook photo album, and send me the link at so I can repost it on our Facebook page. Make sure that privacy setting is set to “Public” with the little world globe on it, because you are doing your bit to save the planet and sharing your accomplishment isn’t bragging, it’s reminding everyone of something quite important: it’s a nice planet, if you want it to be.

Sandra Stringer is our Editor. And, yes, she knows “trashening” and “garbaging” aren’t real words.


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