Litter Facts

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 Interesting Facts

U.S. taxpayers spend close to $11 billion cleaning up litter each year, 10 times the cost of trash disposal. *Each piece of litter costs roughly 30 cents to clean up

One mile of highway contains an estimated 16,000 pieces of litter.

Thousands of vehicle accidents across the U.S. are litter-related.

$90 million worth of cans, bottles, and newspapers in a landfill would be valued at $300 million if recycled. *Plastic bags can last up to 1,000 years in a landfill, and a glass bottle can be around for a million years

Litter reduces property values.

Tourism declines when communities are spoiled by litter. *And littered places attract more litter

Unsecured Loads: At high speeds, even large items can fly out and hurt or startle other drivers. Motorists may dial *HP on a cellular phone to report unsecured loads

Tobacco products make up more than one third of existing litter.

A discarded cigarette butt takes 12 years to decompose and leaks cadmium, lead and arsenic into soil and waterways. *Cigarette butts can be washed through storm drains into waterways

Cigarette butts can poison animals who may find and eat them.

Lit cigarettes thrown from car windows can cause forest fires.

Heavily littered neighborhoods experience more vandalism and other crimes, including burglaries.



Litter in TN Law

Section 39-14-501. As used in this part, unless the contextotherwise requires:
(1) "Commercial Purpose" means litter discarded by a
business, corporation, association, partnership, sole
proprietorship, or any other entity conducting business for economic gain, or by an employee or agent of the entity;
(2) "Garbage" includes putrescible animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food;
(3) "Litter" includes garbage, refuse, rubbish and all other waste material, including a tobacco product as defined in § 39-17-1503(9) and any other item primarily designed to hold or filter a tobacco product while the tobacco is being smoked;
(4) "Refuse" includes all putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste; and
(5) "Rubbish" includes nonputrescible solid waste
consisting of both combustible and non-combustible waste.


Litter Fines

It is unlawful for anyone to knowingly and willingly discard litter (trash, rubbish, natural waste, etc.) where it is not supposed to be

$50 Fine-Mitigated Criminal Littering Section 39-14-503: Litter that is 5 lbs or less/7.5 cubic feet in volume (Cigarette Butts, bottles, cans, fast food bags/wrappers, sheets of paper, or other objects of similar size or weight). In addition to fine, court shall require 40 hours community service hours picking up litter. Class C Misdemeanor   $500 Fine - Criminal Littering Section 39-14-504: Litter that is 5-10 lbs/15 cubic feet in volume (small bags of trash, stuffed animals, or other objects of similar size or weight). In addition to fine, court shall require 80 hours community service hours picking up litter and may include up to 6 months of jail time. Class B Misdemeanor

$2,500 fine - Aggravated Criminal Littering Section 39-14-505: Litter that is more than 10 lbs/over 15 cubic feet in volume. (would include kitchen size bag of trash or larger, appliances, furniture, 1 or more tires and any other objects of similar size or weight). In addition to fine, court shall require 160 hours community service hours picking up litter and may include up to 11 months 29 days of jail time. Class A Misdemeanor

Class E Felony: 3rd offense of over 10 pounds or 2nd offense of over 1,000 pounds. This could result in 1 to 6 years of jail time AND up to a $3,000 fine.

Section 39-14-507: Covered Load Law - includes trash/litter that falls out of backs of pick up trucks. Same fines apply from above.