Can you prevent litter? You litterally can.
There’s no such thing as a little litter. In fact, the presence of litter affects the environment, waterways, property taxes, home values, tourism and businesses, quality of life, and health and safety in our communities.
Whew. Big impact, wouldn’t you say?
Here are the facts:
- The Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study estimated there are nearly 50 billion pieces of litter along U.S. roadways and waterways. That’s 152 pieces of litter for every U.S. resident.
- Litter decreases property values by more than 7%.
- Litter could lead to graffiti and general decline.
- Litter makes areas more vulnerable to crime.
- The presence of littering attracts—wait for it—more littering.
- Cigarette butts continue to be the single most littered item in the United States.
It’s litterally in your hands.
When you drop a piece of trash, it becomes litter. And maybe you aren’t thinking about what happens to it after that. Maybe you can’t imagine how it gets into the waterways. And into the wildlife we love. But it can. And it does. Stop it. Don’t drop it.
Good to Know
- Litter has a negative impact on our environment and our waterways.
- Litter harms our wildlife when they mistake it for food.
- Litter devalues our neighborhoods.
- Storm drains and ditches clogged with litter can lead to localized street flooding and prevent the stormwater system from operating efficiently.
- Things are getting better; the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study estimates litter on America’s roads was down 54% since 2009.
Good to Do
- Pick up after yourself. Encourage others to do the same.
- Keep your trash can covered.
- Secure your trash around an overflowing trash can or find another can.
- Make sure any trash you have in your vehicle doesn’t blow out and become litter.
- Don’t drop anything on the ground, including cigarette butts. Just don’t.
- Don’t toss anything out of the window of your vehicle, even apple cores and banana peels. (A banana peel can take up to two years to biodegrade.)
- Ask your place of business to have proper receptacles installed for trash and cigarette butts.
- Sign up to be a part of the Great American Cleanup. This regional two-day event is held every year and has resulted in clearing almost 200 tons of litter from our environment!
- Organize your own Team Up 2 Clean Up activity and receive the supplies you’ll need such as litter grabbers, trash bags and safety equipment.
You can turn things around, improving our views, our values and our vitality. You litterally can.
Help us get the word out!
Use the resources from our toolkit below with your community groups, social media channels and other organizations. Spread the good, green word!