we all litter – we may just not know it

Unintentional and accidental acts of littering are an every day occurrence and most of us are are completely oblivious – yikes!

Think about it. You absentmindedly drop a straw wrapper at your kid’s soccer game. Or open your car door and your stash of trash falls to the curb. You throw a cup into the bed of your pick-up and drive off only to see it fly out in your rearview mirror. It happens, we’ve all done it. And we can all make the effort to reduce these unintentional acts of littering so that those napkins, receipts and the trash in the back of our pick-ups doesn’t become litter in our waterways.

Where does that litter go?

  • Rainfall washes litter into storm drains.
  • Storm drains lead to the nearest body of water and dump litter into our North Texas creeks and rivers.
  • Those creeks and rivers drain into area reservoirs, which happen to be the source of our drinking water supplies.

A Few Facts

  • Motorists generate 52% of litter along roadways and highways.*
  • On average there are 51 billion pieces of litter found on roadways, that’s 6,729 items alone per mile of roadway!**
  • Litter cleanup costs the U.S. more than $11.5 billion each year – The Metroplex racked up around $23M in litter cleanup costs.***

Chunk Recyclables too!

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough energy to power the average American home for five months. (EPA, 2008)
  • Recycling paper instead of making it from new material generates 74 percent less air pollution and uses 50 percent less water. (EPA, 2008)
  • Toss out one aluminum can and you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the same can half-full with gasoline and poured it onto the ground.****
  • The 36 billion aluminum cans discarded in landfills last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million. Someday we’ll be mining our landfills for the resources we’ve buried!****

Sources

  • *2009 TxDOT Litter Attitudes and Behavior Survey
  • **2009 Keep America Beautiful National Visible Litter Survey
  • ***Litter Cost Study
  • ****Residentialrecylingoftexas.com
  • Dog River “Does Only Trash Litter” Study