When I return to my car in a parking lot, I’ll often find advertisements, flyers, brochures, etc., stuck underneath the windshield wipers. The latest was an ad for Billy Graham’s upcoming performances in the L.A. area. As an individual car owner, what policy should I follow for these unsolicited pieces of trash? In general, I’m not a litterbug; I think people should clean up after themselves and keep public areas clean. But in this case, I make an exception. I refuse to bring the unwanted material into my vehicle, so I immediately throw it on the ground of the parking lot.
I believe my policy is the correct one. If parking lot owners don’t like the litter, they can (a) police their lots to stop the offenders, or (b) collect the litter and track down the perpetrators – after all, their locations and phone numbers are usually written right there. In the most recent instance, the obvious perpetrator was the Billy Graham Crusade. (Or one of its minions; but I say respondeat superior, baby.) Requiring innocent folk like me to dispose of unwanted trash lets the purveyors of trash impose costs on the rest of us, just like email spammers. I encourage my readers to adopt my policy and tell others to do the same.
A pointless addendum, relevant only because it relates to litter: When I visited Disney World many years ago, I noticed they had signs everywhere (mostly on trash cans) that said, “Put litter in its place.” According to Merriam-Webster, litter is “trash, wastepaper, or garbage lying scattered about.” So isn’t litter’s place, by definition, on the ground?