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Video shows heated interaction as trucker confronts another driver who threw garbage out his window

"Preventing litter from ending up on the ground is by far more effective."

"Preventing litter from ending up on the ground is by far more effective."

Photo Credit: X

It's said that what goes around comes around — and in the case of one littering driver, the trash they tossed out the window was promptly tossed back into their vehicle by an angry truck driver who watched them litter.

The entire episode was captured on video and submitted to No Polluting (@nopolluting) on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In the clip, several boxes fly out of a van that is idling in traffic. Mere seconds pass before a truck driver exits his truck, picks up one of the boxes, and tosses it back into the van. After a brief, intense conversation — in which no sound can be heard in the video — a person gets out of the van and picks up the remainder of their litter.

Taking the time to pick up and recycle a few containers may seem small, but every action adds up over time. And with a planet that's already "choking on plastic," according to the United Nations Environment Programme, keeping every last piece out of the environment is critical.

Plastic pollution has reached an all-time high, with 400 million tons being generated each year. These materials pose dangerous, often deadly, health risks to humans and animals alike. Litter and plastic pollution also trap heat and drive up global temperatures, creating a vicious accelerator of overheating. Finally, plastic pollution can harbor pests and diseases in the surrounding environment.

For these reasons, many places have been cracking down on littering. Every U.S. state has a penalty for people caught littering, ranging from fines to imprisonment. In Massachusetts, Maryland, and Louisiana, drivers can even have their license suspended if they or anyone in their car is caught littering.

There are other, even more creative approaches, too, such as the national park in Thailand that mailed trash back to park visitors who littered there. 

It's also important for consumers to stay educated about what they buy in the first place. Rather than falling victim to greenwashing, when a company claims to support environmentally friendly practices but doesn't actually follow through, consumers can choose to support low-impact circular brands and brands with plastic-free packaging.

Washington state's litter prevention coordinator Amber Smith-Jones agrees. She said, "Preventing litter from ending up on the ground is by far more effective, and less expensive, than paying crews or arranging for volunteers to pick it up."

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