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Where Does Litter Come From?

Most people think that litter comes from careless people just leaving their trash behind. And some of it does. But where does the rest of it come from? According to, there are seven major sources of litter: 1. Household Trash Collection Areas 2. Business Trash Collection Areas 3. Business and Industrial Loading Docks 4. Construction and Demolition Sites 5. Uncovered trucks 6. Motorists 7. Pedestrians So what does all this mean? It means that 5 out of the 7 main causes of litter are not because someone left their cup or wrapper behind, but because our collection areas and trucks aren’t properly protected from things like wind, storms, animals, etc. Have you have seen a knocked over trash can. Maybe it fell over because of a storm or an animal, but once it’s knocked over, it’s easy for the trash to fly into our communities and our waterways. How does it get into our oceans? According to, most of the litter that ends up in our waters is from either unmanaged waste or street litter. It’s estimated that more than 4.8 million metric tons of plastic enters our oceans each year. That’s the weight of almost 5 million baby humpback whales! And about 83% of that plastic trash comes from just 20 countries (out of 195 countries)! What can YOU do about this problem? 1. Use less/waste less 2. Make sure your trash and recycling cans are secure 3. Pick up litter. 4. Find out what the litter laws are in your area and ask your elected officials to enforce them 5. Write or call your elected officials and ask that they post anti-littering signs in hot spot areas. 6. Keep a small reusable bag in your family vehicle to collect trash. 7. Don’t put out your trash until the morning of pick-up if there is a storm forecasted for the evening before. 8. Share the litter you find (and pick up) in your community with us so we can help bring more awareness to this issue. 9. Start an anti-littering campaign in your neighborhood. 10. Encourage others to make these changes. Sources: #marinelife #marineplastic #plasticocean #litterpicker #cleanup #litter #trash #recycling #community #kid #familyfun #litterfree


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