Let’s Get Personal About Litter

Everyone in America Should Live in a Beautiful Community.

That’s the theme of the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study released earlier this year. 

The study found that there are an estimated 50 billion pieces of litter on America’s roads. That’s 152 pieces for every American. And while litter is down 54 percent since Keep America Beautiful (KAB) did their last study in 2009, it’s still a big problem on our roadways. 

As part of their research, KAB discovered that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with these statements about litter:

  1. It poses a health and safety risk
  2. Litter is an environmental problem
  3. It reduces property values
  4. Litter ends up in our waterways
  5. It negatively impacts tourism and businesses
  6. Litter Impacts my quality of life

In fact, 90 percent of U.S. residents considered litter a problem in their state as part of this study. If so many Americans consider it a problem, why IS it such a problem? Shouldn’t such a large group want to take action?

It turns out that most litter is small in size. 87 percent of the litter examined for this study was less than four inches in size. This includes plastic wrap, candy wrappers, snack bags and the number one litter type found in the study: cigarette butts. 

Maybe these items are so small that they aren’t recognized as litter. Who hasn’t had a candy or sandwich wrapper fly out of their car or escape the trash can? Recognizing that the smallest pieces of litter are a big part of the litter problem litter will help us take personal action to keep these items off our roadways.

Take Personal Responsibility for Removing Small Litter

Here are three things you can do to make sure the smallest pieces of litter stay off our roadways.

1. Keep a trash bag in your car or boat and empty it responsibly.

2. Watch for small items in your car or at home that can fly away and become litter.

3. Dispose of cigarette butts in a receptacle.

Keep America Beautiful has a program called #152andYou which encourages individuals to pick up 152 pieces of litter each year. If everyone takes responsibility for the smallest pieces of litter, we can continue to reduce the amount of litter on our roadways.

If you’d like to help organize a cleanup in your community, go to our Join the Movement page to see available resources. You can also participate in No Trash November.

To read the full study from Keep America Beautiful, go here.  

Nobody Trashes Tennessee supports Keep Tennessee Beautiful AND Keep America Beautiful. We consider them vital partners in our mission to end littering in Tennessee.

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