How to Protect Wildlife with Proper Trash Disposal

Humans have the greatest negative impact on the environment and wildlife. Trash is one such way that humans negatively impact the environment and wildlife. Pets also can be injured or killed by our trash.

We have all heard of recycling and hopefully all of you are doing it. Recycling is a great way to save our natural resources and to reduce consumption and pollution. What a lot of people don’t know is common trash items that injure and even kill wildlife. Many land and marine animals are injured and killed each year by trash items. In addition, plastics and other trash items have been found in the stomachs of an alarming amount of animals.

Throwing away our trash and recycling is a big step in helping save wildlife. Proper disposal is another important step. Read the following tips, to learn more about common everyday items that injure and kill wildlife. The following tips are just a few examples of common items that harm wildlife. Use these tips as an example that can apply to all of your trash. Think about everything that you throw away and ask yourself if it poses a threat to wildlife. If it does, ask yourself what you can do to help minimize the danger. If you see trash on the ground, pick it up, even if it is not yours. You could save an animals life.

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are a big hazard to wildlife. Plastic bags pose a risk for suffocation as well as choking. All wildlife can suffocate if trapped inside of a plastic bag. Plastic bags are a big danger to marine life. Plastic bags floating in water can be mistaken by marine animals for jelly fish. When the marine animal tries to eat the fake jelly fish (the plastic bag) it can suffocate or choke.

Solution: Tie your plastic bags into a big knot before throwing them away into the trash or recycle bin. Why tie them in a knot if them are going to be disposed of in a trash or recycle bin? Because plastic bags can and often do fly out of trash trucks and the wind carries them off into the ocean.


Balloons and pieces of balloons are dangerous to wildlife. They pose a threat of suffocation. Balloon fights are fun, but leave small pieces of balloon remnants on the ground which can harm wildlife.

Solution: After a balloon fight, pick up all of the little pieces of balloon and place them inside a bag. Close the bag securely and throw the bag into a trash can.

Never let helium balloons fly away. As fun as it is and yes I have childhood memories of releasing helium balloons, it is very dangerous to wildlife and should not be done.

Plastic From a Six Pack

The plastic that holds a six pack of cans together poses the danger of an animal getting caught in one of the circles. In the water, these look like food. Animals can get these wrapped around their mouths or necks causing a slow and painful death. If it gets wrapped around their mouth, they will eventually starve to death. If it gets wrapped around their necks, they will eventually choke to death.

Solution: Cut the six pack holders up into little pieces so that their is no circles left and dispose of them in a trash can.

Twine, Rope and Wire

Twine, rope and wire can all get tangled around an animal. When disposing of these items, try to tie them into a big knot or in the instance of wire, twist them into a ball or knot and throw them away in a trash can.

Bottle Caps, Soda Pop Tabs and Other Small Items

Small items can look like food to an animal. They are often colorful or shiny and can mimic the appearance of food. Animals that eat these small items can choke on them. If the animal does eat them and manages to swallow these items without choking, they may end up with digestive problems. Small items can cause damage to the animals intestines or intestinal blockages. Small items might stay in the stomach of the animal and not pass through to the intestines at all, causing the animal discomfort or even causing death. Animals have been found with alarming amounts of human trash objects in their stomachs.

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