Preventing and picking up litter

We oversee many of Washington's litter pickup programs, including the Ecology Youth Corps, Community Litter Cleanup Program grants, and funding for litter programs at other state agencies.

​Every year in Washington, more than 12 million pounds of litter is tossed and blown onto our highways and roads. Another 6 million pounds is tossed in parks and recreation areas. Litter creates an eyesore, harms wildlife and their habitats, and puts motorists at risk.

Ecology leads a partnership of state, county, and local agencies to keep our state’s roads and highways clean, pick up illegal dumps, and prevent people from littering in the first place. Together, these groups picked up about 5.3 million pounds of litter in 2016. 

Litter laws

Washington requires motorists to prevent litter by covering their loads and having a litter bag in their vehicle. The law imposes fines for people caught littering; fines range from $50 to $5,000.

Litter programs

In 2016, Ecology-funded programs picked up 5.3 million pounds of litter and cleaned 27,523 miles of road statewide. Volunteer crews picked up hundreds of thousands more pounds of litter. 

Ecology Youth Corps

Since 1975, we've employed more than 12,000 young people who have removed litter and promoted recycling and litter abatement through out the state. The Ecology Youth Corps (EYC) is Washington's largest youth employment program.

Community Litter Cleanup Program grants

The Community Litter Cleanup Program (CLCP) provides local governments with funding for litter pickup, illegal-dump cleanup, and litter-prevention education.

Washington Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program

Adopt-a-Highway is a roadside clean-up program that promotes pride and local ownership in Washington. Thousands of miles of roadway statewide are available for adoption. Do something great for your community — volunteer and we’ll  recognize your group's effort on a roadside sign.