Are You a Litter Bug? Does the appearance of your campus, your neighborhood, your city, or your state make a difference? Appearance often creates the first impression a person has of a place he or she visits—and first impressions are usually lasting. When some people think of beautiful places, they think of lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains, countryside, farms, and forests. Others may think of suburban neighborhoods or of urban settings with modern, efficient buildings. The range of options is unlimited because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beauty of many areas is marred by litter left by individuals who did not care about others who would follow them. One thing is certain—no matter how beautiful a place may be—if it is littered with trash or buildings are deteriorated, it will not make a good impression. Litter creates two different types of costs for your campus, your city, and your state. One type of cost is lost business. Prospective students who visit a campus with littered parking lots and vending areas are often turned off by the appearance of the campus and search for a more appealing environment. Tourism is a major industry for most cities and states. Tourists are not likely to want to return to places that are littered and trashy. The second type of cost is the clean-up cost. Picking up litter along highways, parks, waterways, and forests costs thousands of dollars every year. In addition, thousands of volunteers contribute huge amounts of time to clean up public areas. Picking up litter improves the appearance for a short time, but it does not solve the problem because very soon after an area is cleared someone will come along and litter it again. The real solution comes from not littering in the first place. Littering is not only expensive; it is wrong and against the law. Public awareness programs help. Teaching young people at home and in educational institutions to dispose of their trash properly may be our best solution for the future.