10 Spooky Facts About Litter You Should Know

Pollution is scarier than you think! In honor of Halloween, here are 10 spooky facts about litter you should know.

1. Cigarette Butts Take a LONG Time to Decompose

Did you know that cigarette butts can take up to 10 years to decompose? They also release harmful toxins into the environment.

2. Waterway Trash Often Comes from Land-Based Activities

Your trash can end up in many different places. The trash that ends up in oceans and waterways gets there by traveling through streams, rivers, stormwater conveyances and even via wind and rain.

3. Wildlife Life Can Mistakenly Eat Trash

Many different species of animals can ingest or become entangled in debris. In fact, approximately 558 species of wildlife and fish have been affected by trash.

4. Waterway Trash Can Affect Fish Populations

Pollution in the oceans and waterways can significantly reduce the fishing population, which hurts tourism, communities that rely on fisheries and also our food supply.

5. Plastic Waste Can Break Down and Cause More Harm

Plastic can break down into smaller pieces, known as “microplastics.” These microplastics can create negative impacts on health for both humans and animals alike.

6. Each Person Can Contribute to a Whole Lot of Trash

An estimated 152 pieces of trash can be attributed to each person in the United States.

7. The Roadways are Filled with Trash

Our scenic byways have a big trash problem. According to TDOT’s 2022 visable litter study, there are 88 million pieces of litter on the state’s roadways at any given time.

8. Litter Can Cause Severe Roadway Accidents

Not only does debris in the road cause a dangerous situation but that banana peel you throw out is a hazard too. When food waste is littered by a vehicle, it attracts animals to the road. They in turn can get into traffic and get injured, killed and/or damage your car.

9. Our Drinking Containers Can Take a Long Time to Break Down

While aluminum cans take 200 years to decompose, a single plastic water bottle can take 450 years to break down.

10. Cleaning Up Litter and Waste Can Be Expensive

The Tennessee Department of Transportation spends over 23 million dollars annually on litter pickup and prevention education.

Ending The Litter Problem Starts With YOU

Many of these scary trash issues can be curbed by consciously reducing waste by disposing of items properly, cutting back on single-use products and recycling when possible.

Are you ready to Join the Movement? Let’s keep Tennessee beautiful together! You can help by joining a litter cleanup near you.


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