Our throw-away society

Saturday was a miserable day, so rather than wandering the moors in the murk, myself and one of the other Rangers decided to be environmentally friendly and do a litter pick - what a mistake.

We started in the truck layby on the A628 just down the valley from the Woodhead tunnel entrance, and ended up filling 15 bin bags, plus pallets, plus three lorry tyres. We then moved on to the car park by the Blacks but we only managed to fill five bin bags there. People would have to drive all of about 300m off the road before littering, so I suppose that explains it.

As a result of my endeavours I made some observations, learned some things I would rather not know, and have some questions I'm still puzzling over:

  • Empty beer cans are irresistible to mice, but unfortunately once they get in, they can't get out.
  • Empty beer cans at the right angle collect rainwater.
  • Mice, empty beercans and rainwater make an interesting mix. Tip the can and the fur comes out first, followed by the tiny blue, bloated, decomposing bodies, all topped off by the most revolting stench I have ever experienced.
  • Big Macs must taste better cold. I can find no other explanation for the crop of discarded cartons 25 miles from the nearest McDonalds.
  • There is someone in the UK who is stupid enough to drive to a layby miles from anywhere and then throw their car keys into the undergrowth.
  • A child somewhere in the UK has lost all their schoolwork for the last five years.
  • Mandy from Leeds, does your Mum know what your 'modelling' career actually involves?
  • There are at least half-a dozen women in the UK who have lost some underwear. The same doesn't appear to be true of any of the men.
  • Disposable nappies left exposed to the elements bloat up to about the size of a football.
  • Most people who litter prefer Orange Tango.
  • Coke left exposed to sunlight goes a colour reminiscent of urine - at least I assume that the label on the bottle was correct.
  • Some people are very tidy-minded, they gather up all their litter, put it into a bag, tie it up and then throw it neatly into the countryside.
  • Don't pick up unidentified tied-up plastic bags - somebody may have used them as an impromptu toilet.

Re: Our throw-away society

Here's how long it apparently takes for some of our commonly used products to biodegrade, when they are scattered about as litter: Cotton rags 1-5 months Paper 2-5 months Rope 3-14 months Orange peels 6 months Wool socks 1 to 5 years Cigarette ends 1 to 12 years Plastic coated paper milk cartons 5 years Plastic bags 10 to 20 years Leather shoes 25 to 40 years Nylon fabric 30 to 40 years Tin cans 50 to 100 years Aluminum cans 80 to 100 years Plastic 6-pack holder rings 450 years Glass bottles 1 million years Plastic bottles Forever???

Re: Our throw-away society

I am interested in the amount of environmental damage that 'plastic 6-pack holder rings' cause. Can you please send me some info on it. Thanking You In Advance, T.L.Holmes

Re: Our throw-away society

The problem with six-pack plastic ring holders is that they are extremely harmful to wildlife. They can strangle, cut, or choke small mammals, animals and birds. They've also reportedly been found entangled on fish. The rings can easily get caught around their necks, and as they grow, the rings eventually cut into their skin and strangle them. Best to cut the things into small pieces, and then throw them into a recycling bin.