If it’s artfully placed, is it still litter?

Graffiti, in the 60’s, started gaining status to ultimately be recognized as a legitimate art form. The Wynwood neighborhood in Miami is an example of what has come out of that movement. Could this be happening to litter? Have you ever folded or torn packaging material, like paper food bags?  Is this visually modified material considered something other than litter?

Case in point: a thin, paper straw wrapper.

I must confess, over the years, I’ve played with paper straw wrappers, folding them, rolling them or taking the wrapper and balling it up into a wad.

There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts near where I live and many times I’ll walk by the short row of black metal, open weave table and chairs. I notice the litter, and have picked some of it up to drop into one of several trash cans thoughtfully provided by the store manager. Between the sidewalk and the parking lot there used to be a narrow grassy area. That area became a litter catch all as the wind would blow discarded papers, wrappers, cigarette butts, etc. onto the grass.

The owners of the store finally filled it with cement. Some of their daily customers are noted for leaving material behind. With winds and rain, that trash travels into the adjacent parking lot… and sometimes reaches the storm drain, for a short journey out to the sea.

I digress.

The other day, at a time when few patrons were around, I documented litter that was left in that area: trash left on the table, on the mid-ledge of the table, and lastly some trash that was below the table. All went into the trashcan. The following day I spotted two straws that had been tightly woven into one of the tabletops, “decorating” one edge. I went to remove them and could see that would be a “sit down and use two hands” job. I passed on the opportunity. The following day the orange striped straws were gone and in their place a paper straw wrapper was woven with care into the tabletop. I snapped a photo.

Today’s photo is a montage of recent purposefully positioned pieces of litter. Is this part of a larger movement to legitimatize litter, like graffiti? Is someone actually trying to have their litter be recognized as ART?

Contemplate that.