Litter clean-up costs the U.S. more than $11.5 billion annually, with businesses paying for approximately 80%; local/state governments, schools, and other organizations picking up (pun intended!) the remaining 20%. According to Keep America Beautiful’s latest Litter Study, here are some interesting facts:
- More than 50 billion pieces of litter are on U.S. roadways each year.
- The majority of this trash is less than 4 inches, making it difficult to clean-up.
- That is the equivalent of 6,729 pieces of trash per mile of roadway.
- As you may guess, tobacco products (cigarette butts and packaging) make up about 40% of this litter. Plastic and paper are the next biggest categories.
- Roadway litter comes from both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers cause (52%), pedestrians (23%), and improperly covered truck loads (16%).
The cost of cleaning up litter is high, but so are the environmental consequences. Wind and weather, traffic, and animals move litter around, potentially into gutters, lawns and landscaped areas, alleyways, and parking structures. Litter near storm drains and beach debris are also likely to wash into local waterways, with potential for serious environmental contamination.
Let’s stop this trashy habit!