Litter Facts

Keep NC Beautiful

People may think litter is a victimless crime, but it impacts people's safety, security and well-being, as well as their pocket-book.

The Cost of Litter

  • In 2015, the North Carolina Department of Transportation spent more than $15 million to remove approximately 7.5 million pounds of roadside litter. 
  • Litter reduces property values.
  • Tourism declines when vistas are spoiled by litter.

Unsecured Loads

  • Biggest problem is unsecured loads in the back of trucks.  At high speeds, even large items can fly out and hurt or startle other drivers.
  • Pickup truck bed covers not only secure loads, they also improve fuel economy and keep loads dry, clean and safe. Tarp Awareness Brochure
  • Motorists may dial *HP on a cellular phone to report unsecured loads.  

Cigarette Butts

  • Tobacco products make up more than one third of existing litter.
  • A discarded cigarette butt takes 12 years to break down and leaks cadmium, lead and arsenic into soil and waterways.
  • Cigarette butts can poison children or animals who may find and eat them.
  • Cigarette butts that accumulate outside of buildings, on parking lots or streets can be washed through storm drains to streams, rivers, and beaches.
  • Lit cigarettes thrown from car windows can cause forest fires.

Neighborhood Crime

  • Heavily littered neighborhoods experience more vandalism and other crimes.
  • Litter sends a signal to criminals that residents don't care about what happens in their neighborhood and makes the area more vulnerable.
  • People feel safer in a clean neighborhood vs. a littered one.
  • Littered places attract more litter.
  • Clean streets and a clean neighborhood send a signal that people care about where they live and work, and indicates they don't have any tolerance for disobedience or criminal activity. When someone litters, others think it is ok and soon more litter accumulates. Before you know it, you or your community is covered in trash.

What to do

  • Never let trash escape from your car.  Keep it contained in a bag inside of your vehicle.
  • Secure loads and remove any loose trash in a truck's pickup bed.
  • Never throw a cigarette butt on the ground.  
  • Use cloth bags when shopping.
  • Keep your vehicle in working order to prevent break-downs and loss of car parts.
  • Check tires regularly to prevent blow-outs.
  • Don't throw apple cores, banana peels or other food parts out the window.  Animals are attracted to the scent and can cause accidents when crossing the road.
  • Pick up litter in your neighborhood.

How to Report a Litterbug

  • Use the Swat-A-Litterbug form on the Dept. of Transportation's website. 
  • Call *HP to notify the State Highway Patrol if you see someone littering.