YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It turns out men litter more than women and smokers contribute 50 percent of littered items.
According to litteritcostsyou.org, $11.5 billion is spent every year cleaning up other people’s trash. Despite public awareness campaigns, 75 percent of people polled by the website admitted they littered in the past five years.
The most common littered items picked up during cleanups are fast food wrappings, containers and cups.
People age 18 to 34 are the most likely to toss their garbage out the window, and the most common reason for littering is convenience and not feeling responsible for public spaces like parks and roadways.
Last year, the Ohio Department of Transportation spent $4 million picking up 400,000 bags of trash, 25,000 of which were collected in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. That money could have paved a 28-mile two-lane road or paid for 30 new plow trucks.
Not only is the problem costly, but crews are pulled from other duties like road repair to pick up trash.
“If you are hauling something, whether it be a trash hauler or just someone with items in your pickup truck or items in your car, make sure you are securing that load so that debris doesn’t fall out onto the roadway,” sadi ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning.
ODOT relies on Adopt a Highway groups to help tackle the problem. There are 1,400 crews in Ohio and the group in Mahoning County collected nearly 200 bags of trash last year.
“It really doesn’t cost anything to the state of Ohio. It is a great volunteer public service and a great way to make a huge difference in the state,” Bruning said.Sign up for Adopt a Highway here.
Inmates also help pick up trash, but that service is not free. They don’t have to pay for the labor but the guards overseeing the inmates are paid.