Article by Rae Anne Bradley for The Pulse
The Tennessee Department of Transportation continues its mission to prevent and reduce litter statewide by launching the next phase of Nobody Trashes Tennessee, the state’s official litter prevention campaign.
From the Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River and all of the roadways in between, litter on Tennessee’s 96,167 miles of public roads – 4,022 of which are classified as scenic – impacts public safety, takes away from the state’s natural beauty, and is an enormous financial and environmental burden to the state.
Despite COVID restrictions in 2020, TDOT and our community partners removed 21 million pounds of litter from roadways and cleaned up 4,023 illegal roadside dumps. TDOT spends $19 million annually on litter pickup and prevention education funded by revenue from a tax on soft drink and malt beverages.
“The Nobody Trashes Tennessee campaign educates Tennesseans on the scope of the problem and provides resources and opportunities for residents to take both personal and community actions to help prevent and reduce litter,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright.
This next phase of the campaign includes expanded statewide public education initiatives and additional resources and support for TDOT’s 95 county partners. A key feature is the introduction of characters that tell the story of the Tennessee litter problem from a personal perspective – featuring literal pieces of trash that can talk. Red Plastic Cup, or RPC for short, was carelessly tossed out of a moving car along the Natchez Trace Parkway and is working to create a movement to end litter.
“After I was thrown out of a moving vehicle – which really hurt – I did my homework. It turns out litter is a huge problem for our state. There’s a lot of trash out there, and not all of it is as civic-minded as I am,” said RPC.
Tennesseans are encouraged to follow along as RPC travels across the state, interviewing residents to discuss the scope of the problem and solutions for preventing and reducing litter for his new “Talking Trash” show.
“I’ll be interviewing movers and shakers, elected officials, sports figures, and other really smart people who are all joining me on my mission to end littering in Tennessee,” said RPC.
Visit nobodytrashestennessee.com to learn more about the campaign and ways to get involved through personal actions, community events, participating in the no-cost Adopt-A-Highway Program, and reporting littering incidents through the Tennessee Litter Hotline (1-877-8LITTER).