Preventing litter

In the past, we sponsored a litter prevention program that included a hotline to report littering, a litter prevention outreach campaign, and litter studies that collected data on the volume, type and location of littering in Washington. This work was discontinued due to budget cuts, but may return in the future if funding is restored.

Litter and It Will Hurt

This successful education and outreach campaign included television and radio ads, a hotline to report littering, posters and billboards, and brochures. The program messaging was direct and effective: statistics show littering was reduced by 25 percent during the campaign.

In 2009, the Litter and It Will Hurt campaign was suspended as funding from the litter tax was diverted to support other state priorities.

Litter hotline

The outreach campaign also included highway signage and a litter hotline to report violators. Members of the public could report littering by calling 1-866-LITTER-1 (866-548-8371). Funding for the hotline was discontinued in 2011 due to budget cuts.

Some signs remain along Washington roadways. The message is a good reminder of the fines and penalties that face those who litter. If someone calls to report a violator, they hear a recorded message that says the program has been discontinued.

The Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies continue to enforce Washington’s laws if they observe or receive reports of littering.

We hope that future state budgets will restore the funding needed to develop and manage similar litter prevention programs.

Litter studies

Understanding the source of litter can help us know better how to prevent it. Researching how much material is littered, what types of material ends up as litter, and where people are littering helps inform litter prevention efforts. Funding for ongoing research was discontinued in 2009 due to budget cuts.

Past studies