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What is litter? 

Litter is misplaced and improperly handled waste. Millions of dollars are spent each year cleaning up litter. A recent Keep America Beautiful research project found that people litter for one of three reasons:

  • they feel no ownership for the property;
  • they believe someone else will clean up after them;
  • accumulated litter encourages more litter.

Where does litter come from?

According to Keep America Beautiful, Inc. most litter comes from these sources:

  • motorists
  • pedestrians
  • uncovered vehicles
  • loading docks
  • commercial refuse sources, including dumpsters
  • household trash handling
  • construction/demolition sites.

While littering has declined in the past 40 years, individual littering and litter continue to be a problem especially along many highways and roads in our community. Littering is primarily the result of individual behaviors, so changing behaviors is a key to prevention.

How can littering be prevented?

  • Provide adequate trash, ash, and recycling receptacles.
  • Ensure consistent and ongoing cleanup efforts.
  • Set an example by not littering.
  • Pick up one piece of litter every day.
  • Teach others the proper way to dispose of trash.
  • Make sure trash cans have lids; avoid setting out open containers or boxes of trash.
  • Tie papers in bundles and secure cardboard before placing in or near curbside recycling bins.
  • Ask neighbors to join you in cleaning up litter in public areas.
  • Get local government involved by collecting bags of litter and disposing of them properly.
  • Encourage civic groups, schools, scouts, or other organizations to get involved in a cleanup.
  • Plant and maintain flowers along a curb, sidewalk, or park to beautify an area.
  • Ask business owners to check dumpsters daily to be sure lids are closed.
  • If you own a construction or hauling business, make sure trucks are covered when transporting material to and from sites. Use fencing around construction or demolition sites to prevent debris from being blown into other areas. Provide trash containers for construction workers.  (Source: Keep America Beautiful: Waste in Place)

For information about how we can help you host a litter free event, click on our events tab.

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