Litter Prevention

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 (KAB) 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. One of KAB goals is to end littering. 
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 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?

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality- Litter Prevention Program
The Litter Prevention Program coordinates the distribution of annual grants to localities for recycling and litter activities, provides information and guidance on litter prevention and recycling topics, and works with localities, litter prevention program managers, and environmental groups on improving awareness of how litter damages the environment. Program staff track and report on how localities use their grants to support their litter prevention and recycling programs.
DEQ staff works with the Litter Control and Recycling Fund Advisory Board on the grant process. For questions about litter prevention topics, contact Prina Chudasama at (804) 698-4159
Litter Prevention Program Managers/Local Contacts and Local Litter Cleanup Programs

  • Get involved! Join one of the groups below to help conserve natural resources and keep your community clean.
  • Support Don’t Trash Central VA Litter Campaign
  • Or, contact these groups to request litter education information, litter cleanup opportunities, litter cleanup supplies,  and litter resources specific to where you live. 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
Don’t Trash Ashland 
Chesterfield County
Chesterfield County Litter Program
Contact Community Enhancement at (804) 748-1500 or (804) 748-1229
Don’t Trash Chesterfield
Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights Department of Public Works
Chuck Henley, Director of Solid Waste (804) 520-9372
Patsy Dixon (804) 520-9372
Don’t Trash Colonial Heights
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
Don’t Trash Henrico
City of Hopewell
Keep Hopewell Beautiful
Brian Silver, Keep Hopewell Beautiful Committee
Don’t Trash Hopewell
City of Petersburg
Keep Petersburg Beautiful Committee
Contact Dept of Public Works – (804) 733-2415
Don’t Trash Petersburg
Powhatan County
Powhatan Anti-litter Council
Cathy Howland, Powhatan Cooperative Extension- (804) 598-5640
Don’t Trash Powhatan 
City of Richmond
Richmond Clean City Commission
Call Community Programs Coordinator – (804) 646-8325
Don’t Trash Richmond
Locality-specific litter prevention and litter education questions can be directed to area Recycling and Litter Prevention Program Managers.
Or, contact Keep Virginia Beautiful.
Looking for litter education lesson plans? Litterati and Chris Woods- Daily Stem offer K-12 lesson plans. Click here for more information on the lessons.
  • 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.
Secure Your Load
Be Responsible, Secure your Load and Stop Litter!

You can do your part to help prevent litter, accidents and pollution! When using any vehicle or trailer to haul material, take a few minutes to secure the load. You are responsible for it; and it is also the law!

Tips for Securing Loads:

  • Tie down items with rope, bungee cords or adjustable straps. Tie large items directly to the vehicle or trailer.
  • Cover your load with a sturdy reinforced plastic or canvas tarp.
  • Make sure brush and debris are not overhanging vehicle/trailer or dragging on road.
  • Put lighter weight items at the bottom of the load, such as empty cardboard boxes
  • Don’t overload. Keep material level with the top of truck bed or trailer .
  • Always double check your load and be aware of it while driving!