What You Can Do
The good news is that we can easily reduce the amount of freeway litter, with help from you. Easy solutions are to use a litterbag in your vehicle, refrain from tossing any item out your window, and to make sure vehicle loads are properly secured with tarps and tie downs. You can also call the Litter Hotline, toll free, at 1-877-3LITTER (354-8837).
Three in five residents statewide (62%) say they keep a litterbag or trash can in their vehicle. Interestingly, Maricopa County residents are significantly less likely to have a litterbag or trash can in their vehicles (57%) than Pima County residents (65%) and residents living in the outlying areas of the state (74%). Residents most likely to report having a litterbag or trash can in their vehicle are females (66%), older residents (71% of those age 55 or older), and those with household incomes less than $40,000 (68%).
Those who do not currently have a litterbag or trash can in their vehicle were asked if they would consider keeping one in their vehicle; approximately half (54%) answered yes. Again, residents in the outlying areas of the state were more amenable to putting a litterbag in their vehicle than those in Maricopa or Pima Counties (64% vs. 53% and 49%, respectively).
Many pickup truck drivers find they have a “magic” truck bed. Papers, wrappers, cans, leaves, and other litter that gets tossed into the bed has magically “disappeared” when the truck arrives at its destination. That’s because all of that stuff gets blown out along the freeway. Litter should not be put in the beds of pickup trucks, to prevent unintentional littering.
More serious problems arise when items such as ladders, mattresses, furniture, landscaping and construction debris fall off of trailers or other vehicles. About 40 percent of litter along our Valley freeways is believed to be this type of “accidental” litter. But failing to secure loads is no accident. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that loads are properly secured with tarps and tie-downs.
Keep Your Butts in the Car.
Cigarette butts are one of the most common litter items that are deliberately tossed from vehicles. It can take many years for cigarette butts to decompose, and when it rains, the toxic chemicals in cigarettes make their way into our water supply. Throwing cigarette butts out of car windows also increases the risk of costly wildfires.