STATE: More than 6 million pounds of roadside litter collected this year

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, May 20, 2021

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The N.C. Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors and volunteers have collected more than 6 million pounds of litter from roadsides and are on pace to exceed the record for litter collection set in 2019.

As of Wednesday, 6.3 million pounds of litter have been picked up from roadsides as a part of this year’s litter removal efforts. That’s roughly the same amount as was collected in 2020 and puts the state on track to surpass 2019’s record, when 10.5 million pounds of litter were collected.

“We are on track to pick up more litter in 2021 than in any year previous,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “But to truly solve this problem, North Carolina must begin dealing with litter proactively. Secure your load, don’t throw trash out the window and do your part to make sure others know this too.”

NCDOT’s litter management programs are multifaceted. The department makes use of state-owned forces and contract services statewide. NCDOT’s Sponsor-A-Highway Program allows businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor litter removal along roadsides. NCDOT is also proud to partner with the more than 120,000 participants in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, where volunteers pledge to clean a section of our highways at least four times a year.

If you spot someone littering from their vehicle, report them with NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app, which can be downloaded at

In addition, the 2021 Fall Litter Sweep will be Sept. 11-25. More details will be shared as the event approaches.

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt the environment, tourism and the state’s quality of life.

Everyone should do their part by:

• Securing their loads before driving. Unsecured trash can fly from a vehicle and end up as roadside litter.

• Holding onto trash until it can be disposed of properly. Keep a litter bag in your vehicle so you can properly dispose of trash later.

• Recycling when possible. Recycling protects the environment, saves landfill space and keeps the community clean.