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by Betty Beamguard

You probably think anybody knows how to toss trash out a car window, even a small child; however, as with anything else, thereís a correct way to do it. With over thirty years of experience picking up roadside trash, Iím well qualified to instruct litterers in the proper way to clean out a car. Below are my ten rules of etiquette for trashing the highways of our beautiful country.

1. Do not rip up your lottery tickets. Itís bad luck.

2. Do not spit tobacco into cans or bottles. For proper disposal of tobacco and its juice, spit into your cupped palm, hang your hand out the car window, and give it a sling.

3. For plastic bottles, empty the contents and re-screw the lids loosely. Tightening makes removal difficult for those who care enough to take them off before recycling, and flipping the lid and bottle out separately requires two bends for pickup unless they land less than four inches apart.

4. Avoid tossing rubbish into poison ivy vines and briar bushes. Instead, direct it toward a road sign. This will centralize the trash for easier cleanup and provide you with a challenging target.

5. Should there be no road sign, aim for a strip about 18 inches from the pavement so your junk will land in the taller un-mown vegetation and be partially hidden while awaiting removal. But never throw it so far that the person picking up has to wade through weeds, reach under bushes, or climb an embankment.

6. If you come upon a person gathering litter, stop and hand her your trash rather than make her stoop to pick it up or clutter a section she has just cleared.

7. When chucking the unusable contents of a stolen wallet, toss all cards at once, instead of scattering them along a quarter-mile stretch.

8. If you buy your beer in a carton, place the empties in the box before pitching it. Return straws, napkins, ketchup packets, half-eaten burgers, and drink cups to your fast-food bags and roll down the tops before you hurl them out the window.

9. To dispose of your losing gamecock, the entrails of your trophy buck, or your fish heads, double bag them in sturdy plastic and tie securely. Paper bags tend to fall apart during the ripening process.

10. As for cigarette butts, snotty tissues and dirty diapersóplease keep them. If you donít, the fairy who turned Bunny Foo Foo into a goon will do the same to you.

For those who find these rules taxing and difficult to remember, I need to mention that it is also perfectly acceptable to stash your trash in a plastic bag and dispose of it along with your household garbage.

Note to Readers: Please feel free to share this article. Post it on any Web site, including your personal one, e-mail it to your friends, whatever. Just get the message out because I'm tired of looking at roadside trash. All I ask is that you list my name and Web site.


Betty Beamguard freelances and writes womenís fiction and humorous essays. Her features have appeared in Women in the Outdoors, Dog and Kennel, Mature Years, The Writer, Writerís Journal, Draft Horse Journal and more.

Visit Betty's web site: Click here

Betty has more stories at USADEEPSOUTH; here are several.
Dragging the swimming pool
Hanging out at the tienda
News and weather foibles

Check USADS Article Archives for more!


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