Keep America Beautiful

LITTER PREVENTION: WHAT YOU CAN DO

Littering is an individual behavioral problem or a business problem that can become a problem for your community.

Changing a societal norm like littering begins with each of us. Each person must accept responsibility for their actions and influence the actions of others around them at home, at school, in your place of business, and in the community at large. By modeling proper trash and waste disposal, you will cause others to consider changing their behaviors and embodying appropriate actions, too.

Here are some examples of what you -- and others -- can do to help prevent litter in your community.

Every Person
  • Set an example for others, especially co-workers, friends and children by using trash receptacles and not littering.
  • Always have available a litter bag and portable ashtray in your car.
  • If you are a smoker, carry and use a portable or pocket ashtray.
Families
  • Make sure your trashcans have lids that can be securely fastened or use bungee cords to hold them in place.
  • Secure all bags and use twine to secure loose trash for curbside trash collection.
  • Tie paper into bundles before placing into curbside recycling bins.
Government Leaders
  • Identify "Transition Points" in your community. Place ash and trash receptacles at these points and commit to proper maintenance of the receptacles.
  • Encourage building owners and business managers to place ash receptacles at points outdoors where their employees and/or customers smoke.
  • Distribute portable or pocket ashtrays and litter bags throughout your community, and educate citizens about individual responsibility for proper waste disposal.
  • Coordinate "adopt-a-spot" programs with local community organizations, youth groups and school groups to augment the regular maintenance of public places by your employees.
Business Owners
  • Assure easy access to dumpsters by employees and contractors. Check dumpsters daily to see that top and side doors are closed. This prevents scavengers from spreading trash on the ground.
  • Cover all open loads on trucks leaving your business. Encourage vendors and contractors to do the same.
  • Provide ash and trash receptacles at entrances, exits, loading docks, picnic areas as well as in packing lots and along walkways of your business.  Remember, these should be placed where the people generally gather.
  • Educate your employees about the importance of individual responsibility for a clean and safe working environment.
Community Leaders
  • Encourage groups to "adopt-a-spot" in your town or neighborhood and encourage maintenance on a regular basis.
  • Utilize information from Keep America Beautiful to initiate education programs addressing sustainable community improvement through litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction.
Event Organizers
  • Make your festival, fair or any outdoor community events "waste-wise and litter free" by involving all participants in the planning.
  • Give out litter bags and portable or pocket ashtrays at the entrances of your event and make sure everyone knows that your event is a "waste-wise and litter free" event.
  • Place large trash receptacles and recycling receptacles near food venues and eating areas. Remember, a large event with a large number of attendees should equal large, well-marked receptacles.
  • If you place event volunteers nearby to help attendees find the receptacles as they need them, you will reduce clean-up while educating people about recycling and proper waste disposal.
Marina Operators
  • Pass out litter bags and portable or pocket ashtrays to boaters and their guests.
  • Provide ash, trash, recycling and bulk waste receptacles dockside for your customers.
  • Install fishing line collection receptacles with signage to collect broken and used line. Keep fishing line out of the water!
  • Offer litter bags, ash receptacles and trash containers in your supply store.
Smokers
  • Before you light up, identify where you will dispose of your cigarette waste when you finish smoking. Use ash and ash/trash receptacles.
  • Carry a pocket ashtray all the time or have a portable ashtray with you as you leave your home, office or car.
  • Encourage fellow smokers to be responsible for their cigarette litter, too.
Pet Owners
  • Pick up after your dog as you walk through your neighborhood.  Use newspaper delivery bags, "scoopers" or other easy-to-use methods to clean up after your pet. 
  • Keeping your pet on a leash assures that it doesn't foul neighbors' yards or public spaces in your neighborhood.
  • Take responsibility for your pet and its actions.

 

 

More Resources