Litter is a pervasive issue for Philadelphia. Our streets, parks and playgrounds all suffer the visual stigma the presence of loose trash/litter causes. Every person living, working and playing in Philadelphia has a stake in the City’s litter problem. Research and experience tell us that litter attracts the eye and attracts MORE litter. Research also tells us that a clean community discourages littering and illegal dumping. Proper handling of litter and waste in a community raises the standards and expectations of everyone. Whether you are a business owner or employee, a resident, a property owner, a visitor, a volunteer leader or an elected official, YOU can make a different in litter reduction in Philadelphia.

Litter 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.

Getting the Facts

Assessing the presence of litter in Philadelphia’s getting the facts is the first step in the litter prevention education process. The Keep America Beautiful Litter Index makes litter prevention easier. It is a credible and simple tool that allows quick and reliable visual assessment of the types of litter present in our neighborhoods. The data obtained through the Litter Index is invaluable in determining the types of programs needed to address current conditions, and achieve long-term sustainable results. Consistent use of the Litter Index on an annual basis can help track overall progress in reducing litter, and can quantitatively express success in community improvement.

Why People Litter?

Research has determined that people litter because:

  • They feel no sense of ownership, even though areas such as parks and playgrounds are public property
  • They believe someone else, a sanitation or maintenance worker – will pick up after them
  • Litter already has 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.