Here’s How To Handle A Litter Bug On The Trails

What should you say if you see someone tossing their wrappers and gels on the trails? Our etiquette expert has the answer.


Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too! 

Q: What should I do if I see others litter when I’m trail running? I really hate seeing that on the trails!

Commenting on a stranger’s behavior is always risky territory. In this type of situation, the closest I would come to addressing the affront would be to say, “Oh, you dropped your tissue.” Or, “Actually there’s a trash can just around the next corner.” (That is, if there is one around the next corner or back a little ways.)

In the big picture, you could notify the organization in charge of the trails that they may need some signage about litter or more trash cans. Another way to help is to add a cleanup walk to your routine. Sure, you’re picking up other people’s litter (and rudeness), but at least you can feel good about giving back.

That might inspire others to keep the green space and trails clean or do some volunteer pickup themselves.

Have a question for Lizzie? Email or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.

Read More:
Ten Etiquette Reminders For Running Or Racing On The Trails
Deena Kastor On Being A Beginner On The Trails