Litter laws

Littering, illegal dumping, and driving with an unsecured vehicle load is punishable under Washington state law. Fines range from $103 to $5,000. Many cities and counties have local ordinances that are stricter than the state law.

Litter fines

Littering is punishable by fines ranging from $103 to $5,000 in Washington. The largest fines are for “lit debris” — primarily cigarettes — and items that can cause car crashes.

The law (RCW 70A.200.060) sets minimum fines for littering and illegal dumping.The Washington State Patrol, local police departments, sheriff's offices, and health departments enforce litter laws. Many cities and counties have local ordinances that are stricter than the state law. Contact your local police department, sheriff’s office, city, or county clerk for information on local litter enforcement and to find out what laws apply in your area.

Throwing or depositing litter on the highway = $231
Littering less than 1 cubic foot = $103
Litter more than 1 cubic foot, but less than 1 cubic yard = $500
Littering more than 1 cubic yard = $1,000 - $5,000 and potential jail time
Potentially dangerous litter (including cigarette butts) = $1,025

Secure your load

Washington law (RCW 46.61.655) requires motorists to cover and secure their loads to prevent cargo from breaking free. Items falling out of trucks and off of cars cause serious accidents every year in Washington. Because of this danger, Washington law requires people to secure their cargo with tarps, netting, or other tie-down materials. 

Failing to secure a load could result in a $231 ticket. If something falls out and you cause property damage or injure another person you can be fined up to $5,000 and may be charged with a gross misdemeanor, including up to a year in jail.

Washington law (RCW 70A.200.120) requires counties and cities with a staffed transfer station or landfill in their jurisdiction to adopt an ordinance requiring people to secure their vehicle loads when bringing solid waste to their facilities and to charge a fee for unsecured loads arriving at these facilities.