Litter pickup

According to our 2022 litter study, more than 26 million pounds of litter accumulates along Washington's roads and interchanges every year. Public areas like parks, recreation areas, and rest areas see 11.6 million pounds annually.  Litter is an eyesore, harms wildlife and the environment, and puts motorists at risk. Each year, our state spends up to $12 million to fund cleanup efforts, but we can only address a fraction of the problem.

An Ecology Youth Corps litter crew works by a highway, alongside a pile of full litter bags and a new "Keep Washington Litter Free" sign.

Litter pickup statistics

Litter-pickup programs we funded collected more than 5.6 million pounds (2,822 tons) of litter and cleaned more than 20,800 miles of road, statewide, in 2023. See how much litter crews picked up in your area.

Statewide results

Regional and county results

  • Northwest region — Island, King, Kitsap, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties
  • Southwest region — Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum counties
  • Central region — Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima counties
  • Eastern region — Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties

Other statewide litter-pickup efforts

In addition to the efforts we fund, the Washington Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) oversees litter-collection programs and an Adopt-a-Highway program for state highways. Their crews pick up and dispose of litter bags from our crews, as well as those from Department of Corrections, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers, and WSDOT maintenance crews. They pick up and dispose of large debris, as well, such as furniture, tires, and dead animals.

Contact your local Adopt-a-Highway coordinator to volunteer on a state highway near your community.