Why is a private toll road in Britain free of the litter that mars a nearby public road? Dalrymple has several possible answers:
Perhaps the private company that owns it takes care of it better than any British council would do. Perhaps the class of person using it is different from those who decline to use it because of its cost. Or perhaps the people who use it, having paid for the privilege of doing so, are rendered more reluctant to ruin the appearance of what they pass through.
Yes. Study the trash.
In the US people recycle refuse at a loss. Recent articles in the WSJ note that plastic and paper are more costly to recycle than to make from raw materials. Even glass, a good, readily recycled product, has become too expensive because of all the excess trash that comes with the glass.
Go to third world countries and see what is in their trash. Years ago, in Guyana, an abandoned vehicle was stripped to a much greater extent, more quickly (usually just a frame or the smashed parts left) than vehicles here or in other prosperous countries.
Thoreau said we are wealthy in proportion to what we can leave alone. Poor countries make use of everything and throw little away, Their countrysides are often denuded of vegetation and wildlife because of their lack of prosperity and their economic desperation; they must use everything and can leave nothing alone, if they wish to survive. In the US we have parks set aside and usable trash laying about.
Culture can indeed be determined by the trash.