Have you ever noticed that when a little bit of litter begins to accumulate in your community, more of it tends to follow? You’re not alone. Littering is a behavior that impacts communities of every shape and size, and while it may not seem like a big deal, the presence of light trash scattered about the community can quickly lead to larger issues.

More litter, larger litter
Once litter begins to accumulate, the first thing you will notice is that more of it starts showing up, and sometimes in the most unexpected places like next to a perfectly suitable trash can, for instance. This is due to something called the bandwagon effect. In a nutshell: people sometimes have a tendency to adopt the behaviors of the people around them even if it means disregarding or overriding their own beliefs. When it comes to littering, the bandwagon effect is a powerful force.

Pet waste galore
When communities start seeing light trash appear on their grounds, issues with wayward dog waste are typically not far behind. In most cases, the issue will centralize itself in a few locations, commonly referred to as hot spots. These are locations where waste tends to pile up more frequently than others. Identifying hot spots and keeping them clean can work to curb the problem and also help to prevent it from spreading.

Prefer to wash your hands clean of such a messy chore? Local pet waste removal services are always happy to take care of the dirty work.

Rats and rodents
In the vast majority of urban areas, raccoons, rats, opossums and other rodents thrive on the waste we leave behind especially when it’s right out in the open. In neighborhoods without restaurants or commercial dumpsters, and where uncovered trash is not a widespread problem, pet waste often becomes a primary food source for rodents. An unwanted neighbor in any community, the presence of rodents can decrease the property values of all nearby homes and presents a host of additional health concerns to residents and their pets.

Petty vandalism
In some cases, increasing levels of unattended trash and pet waste can also lead to random acts of petty vandalism, such as knocking over trash cans; pulling the bags out of pet waste stations; perhaps the occasional egg or toilet paper roll tossed about. This is far more likely to occur in neighborhoods with children (and to be fair, kids will be kids), but when communities start letting their aesthetic standards go downhill, making a mess no longer seems like such a big deal.

While the issue of litter and other waste is one that affects many communities, it can be controlled. Remember: the bandwagon effect works both ways, and when residents see their neighbors working to make the community a nicer place to live, they tend to follow suit. The next time you spot a piece of trash on the ground in your community, pick it up!

Copyright © 2014 by DoodyCalls. This article may be copied, distributed and transmitted for commercial and non-commercial use as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole with attribution to DoodyCalls. Contact hello@doodyfreewater.org.