• Outdoors Outdoors

Hiker shares discontent after stumbling upon pile of illegally dumped garbage: 'You can't go a mile without finding litter here'

"I can't get over the amount of trash and dumped garbage everywhere."

"I can't get over the amount of trash and dumped garbage everywhere."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and get out in nature. You can even forage or look for birds while you're out in the woods. An unwelcome sight when hiking is trash — one TikToker showed viewers an all-too-common issue in her local woods. 

Alaina Wood (@thegarbagequeen) is a TikToker, climate communicator, and sustainability scientist who shares advocacy and climate optimism on her account. She has shared cost-saving programs for homeowners and called out misleading claims about deep sea mining

@thegarbagequeen America truly has a #litter problem 😅 #stoplittering #stoplitter #illegaldumping ♬ original sound - Alaina Wood

In a clip she filmed while on a hike, Alaina shows followers a concerning scene in the woods. 

In the 11-second video, she says, "In the nearly two months that I was abroad in Ireland and Scotland, I did not see one single illegally dumped tire, but you know what I just found on my first hike back in Tennessee? Some illegally dumped tires." 

The clip finishes with her panning over to show four tires thrown off the side of a road at the start of her hike.  

Tires have been banned from many municipal waste sites, making them harder to dispose of, but just tossing them on the side of the road is not the solution. According to the Illinois EPA, tires need to be disposed of properly for several reasons. 

Tires can hold water and thus be a disease vector for insects. They also contain many harmful chemicals, so they can catch fire easily and leech these into the ecosystem. 

The Used Tires Library details several ways to properly dispose of tires. Car dealers will often take tires to be recycled when you purchase new tires. In addition, there are several junk and waste companies that will come collect your tires for proper disposal and recycling.

Fortunately, when recycled, the rubber from tires can be put to good use. One company has found a way to extract certain metals from old tires to use in electric cars. Another manufacturer has been able to recycle tires for building materials.

Commenters confirmed that they have encountered this problem. 

One person wrote, "Originally from Canada, been living all over the US for the last 3 years. I can't get over the amount of trash and dumped garbage everywhere."

"You can't go a mile without finding litter here!!" Alaina replied.

A helpful commenter mused, "We shouldn't charge people for used tires. That cost should be paid for by the tire companies."

If holding companies accountable is important to you, check out our helpful guide for ways to get started.

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