Why do people litter?
People litter because they believe that someone else will pick up after them.
The City of Durham alone spends over 15 million dollars a year picking up after us in the community. Do you really want your community to spend that much money on litterbugs? This is money that we all pay in taxes that could be better spent hiring more people to fix potholes, to improve park facilities or to upgrade and improve water pipe infrastructure. The community shouldn’t be forced to hire people to pick up our trash. We all need to pick up after ourselves!
People litter because litter has already accumulated.
There are many Keep Durham Beautiful volunteers in Durham that can tell you all about this! When they first adopt a street or a bus stop they are disapointed and disheartened by how often they have to pick up in the same places over and over. But as they keep at it, they begin to find that there is less litter to pick up. People are less likely to throw litter if an area is clean.
Research and experience prove that intentional or unintentional pollution resulting from consumer waste products being carelessly handled or improperly disposed attracts more of the same. Litter attracts litter. A clean community, by contrast, discourages littering and raises local living standards and quality of life.
People litter because they feel no sense of ownership.
You drive on a “state” road or play in a “City” park so you don’t think of these things as belonging to you. Roads, parks and other public places belong to all of us! We must all feel a sense of responsibility for and pride in the community as a whole. When you understand that it belongs to you, that it belongs to all of us, you are less likely to litter or allow people around you to litter!
What is the cost of littering?
- Over 51 billion pieces of litter end up on American highways per year.
- Litter cleanup costs the United States upwards of $11.5 billion annually, with businesses paying $9.1 billion of that.
- Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study found that litter decreases property values by around 7%.
- Water runoff and wind causes litter to enter our waterways, impacting the wildlife with various toxins and clogging their natural habitat.
What can YOU do to help prevent litter?
- Monitor your own littering. About 85% of littering is because of individual attitudes. Think twice before throwing down your cigarette butts, and be cognizant of disposing all of your trash.
- If you are a smoker, carry a pocket ashtray.
- Be sure to look out for any litter, and to pick up any you see.
- Inform others of the cost of littering.
Keep Durham Beautiful believes in YOU!
We believe litter is often a starting point for other community blight. We believe that everyone shares a personal responsibility to help prevent litter in their community. We KNOW that one person, one business, one organization can positively affect the behavior of others in their community. Get involved! We know YOU can Keep Durham Beautiful! Learn more about what you can do to prevent litter.