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Understanding Litter

Litter is misplaced solid waste and costs an estimated $11.5 billion each year to cleanup. In a series of studies conducted by Keep America Beautiful, the primary sources and locations of litter include: roadways, storm drains, loading docks, recreational areas and construction and retail sites. The “individual” is the most important factor in determining whether litter will occur;  85% of littering behavior is due to individual attitudes and lack of awareness, education and concern. Littering can be negligent  which makes it important to secure truck loads, maintain loading docks and to cover and regularly service trash and recycling receptacles. The existing environment also plays a role; research shows that litter begets more litter and beautiful spaces are less likely to be littered.

How Can I Help?

Cleaning up our state requires the “three Es” – a united effort to educate people about the problem, eradicate litter from our communities and enforce litter laws. You can help by educating yourself and others about the problem; the facts below are a good place to start. Then consider volunteering with one of the many groups working on the litter issue in your community such as one of Georgia’s 76 Keep America Beautiful affiliates or with another Road, Stream, Park or Highway Adoption Group.


  • Litter is misplaced, abandoned, or discarded waste.
  • Litter impacts our quality of life, destroying the state’s natural beauty, harming or killing wildlife, diminishing water quality and causing increased costs to treat it for public consumption.
  • Litter is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Littered recyclable items are a lost resource.
  • A clean community welcomes economic growth and development.

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