What is Littering?

The careless and casual handling of waste creates litter. Litter is blown by wind and traffic and carried by water. Once litter has accumulated, it invites people to add more. Keep America Beautiful Inc. research has identified three attitudes that allow people to feel that it is acceptable to litter:

  • They feel no sense of ownership of the property.
  • They expect someone else will clean up after them.
  • They believe it is acceptable to litter where trash has already accumulated.

Keep America Beautiful research has identified seven primary sources of litter. Number 1 and 2 below identify litter from motorists and pedestrians that are “deliberate” acts of litter. Number 3 thru 7 below are considered “passive” forms of littering which account for 40% of litter:

  1. Motorists. (debris thrown out of car windows or left on the side of the road)

  2. Pedestrians. (Individual littering of packaging, beverage containers, cigarette butts, etc.)

  3. Household trash at the curbside (leaving lids off trash cans; overflowing trash cans; unbundled or covered paper that blows, etc.)

  4. Dumpsters used by businesses (overflowing dumpsters or uncovered trash that invites blowing and spreading)

  5. Loading docks (high truck traffic contributes to litter)

  6. Construction and demolition sites (debris in and around sites and blown by wind or carried by rain)

  7. Trucks with uncovered loads (trash falling or blowing off moving and stationary vehicles) 
    Pedestrians and motorist litter most at:

  • Special event venues such as fairs, concerts, ball games or other events that attract a large number of people.

  • Roadways and highways such as roadsides, on/off ramps, median strips, and rest stops.

  • High traffic areas such as fast food businesses, convenience stores, picnic or playgrounds, stadium bleachers, and other areas with a lot of foot traffic.

  • Transition points such as places where someone stops eating, drinking or smoking before proceeding, such as entrances to buildings, train platforms, and bus stops.

How can I make a difference?

  • Set a good example and do not litter.
  • Always use a litterbag in your car and dispose of properly.
  • Make sure your household garbage is secured and doesn’t blow away prior to being picked up.
  • Organize a street cleanup or a neighborhood cleanup.

How can my business make a difference?

  • Set a good example and do not litter.
  • Make sure that your dumpster is secured.
  • Make sure your loading docks are cleaned up.
  • Make sure that your trucks have a cover over their load.