Litter Prevention

Educational Resources

    JRAC-Cleanup-BottleLitter is the result of too little attention to how waste is handled — the careless and casual handling of waste creates litter. Knowing more about the causes of litter and where it comes from is a good place to start in addressing litter prevention. One person, one business, one organization can positively affect the behavior of others in their community.No matter where litter starts, it moves. From streets and highways to parks and waterways. Wind and weather moves litter around a community, into the gutters, planted gardens, alleyways and parking areas. In one study, researchers found that 18% of all littered items end up in our streams and waterways as pollution. Roadside Litter Decomposition Chart

    Why People Litter

    Keep America Beautiful has determined that people litter for a variety of reasons. They feel no sense of ownership, even though areas such as parks and beaches are public property. They believe someone else-a park maintenance or highway worker- will pick up after them.  People also litter in places where litter has already accumulated.

    Who Is Littering?

    There is no such thing as a single “littering type”. People of all ages and social backgrounds have been observed littering, … men and women, children, mature adults and all ages in between are equally likely to litter. Today’s litterer can no longer be described as a pick-up truck driving young man — today’s litterer may be you.Where do people litter? Research has identified locations where litter accumulates. The locations fall into these categories: special event venues, roadways and highways, high traffic and everyday locations and transition points.

    What Can YOU Do?

    Community Contacts and Local Cleanup Programs

    • Get involved! Join one of the groups below to help conserve natural resources and keep your community clean.
    • Or, contact these groups to request information, cleanup opportunities, cleanup supplies, guest speakers, and resources specific to your community.  The VA DEQ has a full list of litter program managers, click here for contact in your area.


    Town of Ashland Litter Program

    Contact Jenny Schontag, Public Works (804) 752-6875

    Charles City County

    Chesterfield County

    Chesterfield County Litter Program

    Pam Cooper, Community Coordinator (804) 751-2227

    Colonial Heights

    Colonial Heights Department of Public Works

    Chuck Henley, Director of Solid Waste (804) 520-9372

    Patsy Dixon (804) 520-9372

    Goochland County

    Goochland Anti-litter and Recycling Council (GARC)

    Dwayne Jones, Convenience Center Manager (804)657-2025

    Hanover County

    Hanover County Department of Public Works

    Stephen Chidsey, Chief of Public Works Operations (804) 365-6181

    Tina Askew

    Henrico County

    Keep Henrico Beautiful

    Because We Care Litter Control Program,Henrico County’s litter prevention program

    Megan Brown, Executive Coordinator (804) 501-4502 or

    City of Hopewell

    New Kent County

    Clean County Committee of New Kent County 

    Adopt-a-Highway Program

    New Kent Clean County Committee – (804) 966-8580

    City of Petersburg

    Keep Petersburg Beautiful Committee

    Contact Dept of Public Works – (804) 733-2415

    Powhatan County

    Powhatan Anti-litter Council

    Cathy Howland, Powhatan Cooperative Extension- (804) 598-5640

    City of Richmond

    Richmond Clean City Commission

    Darlene (Mallory) Jenkins, Community Programs Coordinator – (804) 646-8325


    Locality-specific litter prevention questions can be directed to area Recycling and Litter Prevention Program Managers.


    • Pedestrians or cyclists who do not use waste receptacles.
    • Motorists who do not use car ashtrays or litterbags.
    • Business dumpsters that are improperly covered.
    • Loading docks and commercial or recreational marinas with inadequate waste receptacles.
    • Construction and demolition sites without tarps and receptacles to contain debris and waste.
    • Trucks with uncovered loads on local roads and highways.


    • Household items scattered before or during a trash or recycling collection.