Litter Facts From Research

While there is a lot of important information found in the below research, here are some important facts regarding litter in the state from our most recent study (2022 Tennessee Statewide Litter Study):

  • Litter on Tennessee roadways has reduced by 12% since 2016.
  • There are more than 88 million pieces of litter on the state’s roadways at any given time.
  • Most littered items on Tennessee roadways are plastic at 37% and paper at 22%.
  • Many littered items from paper and plastics are from multi-layer film plastics or lightweight materials.
  • 46.1% of litter is classified as intentional litter, meaning it’s thrown right out of vehicle windows.
  • Top 5 types of intentional litter are juice and soft drink containers, cigarette packs/lighters/matches, takeout food packaging, plastic bags and snack food packaging.
  • 53.9% is considered unintentional litter, which includes vehicle debris and trash flying out of uncovered pickup truck beds.
  • Top 5 types of unintentional litter are paper, plastic, glass, home food packaging and tires.
  • Juice and soft drink items have increased 14.2% between 2016 and 2022.

Litter Research & Reports

Nobody Trashes Tennessee is a campaign that seeks to reduce the amount of roadside litter in the state. To better understand the nature of this problem, research was conducted to assess the amount and type of debris found along Tennessee’s roadsides.

The campaign is based on three primary litter studies; one conducted in 2006, one in 2016, and another in 2022.

In addition, our latest research phase in 2022 tested litter behavior and identified messaging that might drive behavior change.

Read the PDFs below to see our findings on litter in Tennessee.


We can all work together to end littering in Tennessee and keep our state looking beautiful.
Here are a few ways to help:

More To Explore