Article by Hannah Moore on WATE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In 2020, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and their community partners removed 21 million pounds of litter from roadways and cleaned up 4,023 illegal roadside dumps across the state. To help end littering, TDOT began the Nobody Trashes Tennessee Campaign.
Annually, TDOT spends $19 million on litter pickup and prevention education. This is funded through the revenue of a tax on soft drinks 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.
The next phase of the campaign includes expanding public education initiatives and increasing resources and support for all of Tennessee counties. One of the new public education initiatives is the introduction of talking trash who will share the story of litter from a ‘personal perspective’ in their “Talking Trash” show, starting with Red Plastic Cup, also known as RPC.
“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. “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.”
RPC is not the only character joining the crew. Trashsquatch and the Tri-Star Rangers are going on tours throughout Tennessee. According to the campaign’s website, they have been spotted at schools, movie theaters and other events, all to educate people on how litter impacts the environment and what can be done to make a difference.