Glass bottles, in various states of brokenness, litter the banks and waters of the Monocacy River. When they are whole, I pick them up without hesitation to place them in the recycling bin when I get home, but when they’re in pieces, which is far more usual, I undergo an internal debate that goes something like this:
-Hmm, I don’t think I can pick up that piece of glass without cutting my fingers.
-Oh, for God’s sake, of course you can pick it up safely!
-But what about the bag? It’ll cut it open, and then everything else will spill all over the place!
-Okay, fine, that bit is big enough to make it worth the risk, but what about that piece? It’s so small that the river will just carry it away and smooth it into nice river glass. Like sea glass. People collect that stuff, don’t they? It’s pretty.
-No, you idiot! If you leave it there, someone –or something- will cut themselves on it!
-But it’s biodegradable…it’ll just turn back into sand!
-Oh, c’mon, you know glass is dangerous: just pick it all up!
Yes, it’s true, I have a pretty mean internal voice, but that’s a topic for another time, and, at any rate, it has a point in this situation. Last year, my younger pup cut her paw on an old beer bottle. Not only did she bleed profusely all the way home (and, once we got there, all over the floor), she also managed to cut a tendon that kept one of her toe pads lying flat. Now she walks about with that toe poking up, as if she constantly needs us to wait a moment. It’s awkward, but, according to the vet, painless, and it doesn’t seem to inhibit her curiosity or spastic jump-and-zoom behavior. Still, I’d rather she not cut her foot again, and she adamantly refuses to wear shoes (yes, I’ve tried), so I really need to pick up the glass, despite how pretty it can become after being churned by a river for several years.
Oh, and, also, having better taste in beer doesn’t make you any less of a litterer.