424 Blount Avenue, Box G-17 Guntersville, AL 35976
256-582-1918
256-582-1918

Litter Facts

Interesting Facts on the Life Of Litter

Keep America Beautiful literature is the source for much of the data on this page

Facts of (Litter) Life

FACT

Every man, woman and child in America throws away about 4 pounds of trash each day!

FACT

Fewer landfills are being built, yet more garbage is generated each year.

FACT

Much of this trash ends up on our roadsides and in our lakes and streams.

FACT

There are seven primary sources of litter:

  • Household trash handling and its placement at the curb for collection
  • Dumpsters used by businesses
  • Loading docks
  • Construction and demolition sites
  • Trucks with uncovered loads
  • Pedestrians
  • Motorists

FACT

Littering isn’t just rude and unsightly, it’s AGAINST THE LAW!  According to Alabama’s littering statues, anyone willfully and knowingly littering, including any of the litter sources above, is liable for up to a $500 fine if found guilty of this Class C misdemeanor.

FACT

Litter is a costly problem.  One mile of highway contains approximately 16,000 pieces of litter.  Estimated cost of pickup is 30 cents per piece of litter.

FACT

½ of litter is deliberate, ½ is caused by materials being “accidentally” lost from vehicles.

FACT

Many people litter, mistakenly believing that someone else – park maintenance, prisoner, work release or highway worker – will pick up after them.

FACT

Litter is a costly problem.  One mile of highway contains approximately 16,000 pieces of litter.  Estimated cost of pickup is 30 cents per piece of litter.

Do you know how long it takes various items  to biodegrade??

TRASH THAT LASTS

  • Banana Peel……………2   months
  • Notebook Paper…………….  3   months
  • Cotton Diaper………………….4   months
  • Comic Book………………..6   months
  • Wool Mitten…………………1   year
  • Cardboard Milk Carton………….  5    years
  • CIGARETTE BUTTS…………………16  years
  • Wooden Baseball Bat……………20  years
  • Leather Baseball Glove…………………40  years
  • Steel Can……………………………….100  years
  • Aluminum Soda Can…………………….200  years
  • Toothbrush……………………………..400  years
  • Plastic Sandwich Bag…………………..400  years
  • Plastic Six-Pack Holder………………..450 years
  • Disposable Diaper…………………….500  years
  • Styrofoam Cup………………………..Unknown
  • Car Tire………………………….Unknown
  • Glass Bottle………………………….Unknown

PLASTIC BAGS

        Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.  (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)  Less than 1% of bags are recycled.  It costs more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one.  (Christian Science Monitor newspaper)

        There’s harsh economics behind bag recycling:  it costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which can then be sold on the commodities market for $32.00.  (San Francisco Department of the Environment)

        WHERE DO THEY GO??  In 1975 oceangoing vessels dumped 8 million pounds of plastic annually.  The real reason that the world’s landfills weren’t overflowing with plastic was because most of it ended up in an ocean-fill.  (U.S. National Academy of Sciences)

        Plastic bags account for over 10% of the debris washed up on the U.S. coastline.  (National Marine Debris Monitoring Program)

   

        Plastic bags photodegrade:  over time they break down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers, which eventually contaminate soils and waterways.  As a consequence microscopic particles can enter the food chain.  The effect on wildlife can be catastrophic.  Birds become terminally entangled.  (CNN.com/Technology 16 Nov 2007)  Nearly 200 different species of sea life including whales, dolphins, seals and turtles die due to plastic bags.  They die after ingesting plastic bags which they mistake for food.  (World Wildlife Fund Report 2005)

SO WHAT DO WE DO

        If you use a cloth bag, we can save 6 bags per week; 24 bags/month; that’s 288 bags a year – 22,176 bags in an average lifetime.  If just 1 out of 5 people in our Country did this we would save 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our lifetime.

        Bangladesh has banned plastic bags.  China has banned free plastic bags.  Ireland took the lead in Europe, taxing plastic bags in 2002 and has now reduced plastic bag consumption by 90%.  (BBC News)

        In 2005 Rwanda banned plastic bags.  Israel, Canada, West India, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Taiwan and Singapore, have also banned or are moving toward banning the plastic bag.  (PlanetSave.com, 16 Feb 2008)

   

        On 27 March 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags. (NPR Radio)  

Oakland and Boston are considering a ban.  (The Boston Globe, 20 May 07)

        Plastic shopping bags are made from polyethylene,  a thermoplastic made from oil.  Reducing plastic bags will decrease foreign oil dependency.

        China will save 37 million barrels of oil each year due to their ban on free plastic bags.  (CNN.com 9 Jan 08)

IT IS POSSIBLE – DO SOMETHING DRASTIC…CUT THE PLASTIC. 

SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS. 

HELP MAKE ALABAMA PLASTIC BAG-FREE!!

Here is what Oregon is doing about the plastic bag issue:

On Sunday, February 6, 2011, USA Today ran this Newsline–

Oregon looks to ban plastic bags.   A bill co-sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats would outlaw throwaway plastic check-out bags at all retail stores in Oregon, a state that is already a leader in passing green legislation.  Shoppers would be forced to bring their own bags or pay a nickel apiece for recycled paper bags under SB536.  A hearing is set for Tuesday on the proposed ban, which is supported by the Northwest Grocers Association and one of the state’s biggest bag users–Fred Meyer stores.”

The above action is not an isolated case.  Here’s another–

Plastic Bag Ban in Unincorporated LA County Begins July 1. The County of Los Angeles will be giving away reusable canvas bags in select stores through the end of June in preparation for a ban on plastic bags that starts July 1.