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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
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Sustainability

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By Valerie Procopio, Division of Water Resources

Littering is unsightly, harmful to the environment and extremely costly.

Just consider the findings of a survey conducted by the non-profit organization Keep America Beautiful. The 2009 survey revealed that it’s far less costly to prevent people from littering than it is to clean it up. In fact, the survey found that it costs $11.5 billion to clean up litter but prevention campaigns cost only a small fraction of that amount.


For those reasons, Keep America Beautiful recommends taking the following steps to change peoples’ minds and attitudes about littering:

  • Spreading the word about recycling to help change people’s behaviors.

According to the Keep America Beautiful survey, 81 percent of people who litter had the intent to litter. Although the survey found trash receptacles are widespread, it found most littering occurs a considerable distance from a trash receptacle. Even though the survey found plenty of trash receptacles, ash receptacles are less common, which leads to cigarette butts littering our communities.

  • Implementing a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, placing ash receptacles at targeted transition points, and handing out pocket ashtrays will help combat the majority of the litter in our communities.

The overall littering rate for cigarette butts is 65 percent according to the same survey. However, for every additional ash receptacle, the littering rate for cigarette butts decreases by 9 percent.

  • Participating in America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 to help clean up our communities and increase the value of our properties.

In fact, 93 percent of homeowners in the same survey said a neighborhood with litter would decrease a homebuyer’s assessment of a home’s value and influence whether the buyer decides to purchase the property, according to the same survey. In addition, 36 percent of business development officials said litter impacts their decision to relocate to a community. Moreover, more than 50 percent of property appraisers and realtors agree that litter reduces the value of a property.

For more information please visit, http://www.kab.org/site/PageServer?pagename=litterfactsheets.
 

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DENR Sustainability Vision

DENR is the primary environment agency and model for sustainable actions of all North Carolina government agencies.


DENR Sustainability Mission

To inspire a culture of sustainability within DENR by promoting environmentally responsible actions.

 

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