Litter Prevention


Educational Materials

Windows on Waste

Windows on Waste is an interdisciplinary, environmental studies resource for elementary teachers and other environmental educators. It endeavors to meet the needs of competency-based education and constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. The lessons are grounded in general environmental studies concepts as applied to solid waste management issues, with particular emphasis upon recycling and litter prevention. The lessons also address many important educational concerns in Ohio.

Word Search

Industry and Technical Resources

If your business or organization generates waste, you should know that anyone who generates a waste (other than a household) must determine if the waste meets the definition of a hazardous waste and must store, treat, transport and dispose of their hazardous waste, according to Ohio’s hazardous waste rules. If you need more information, or want to be sure you're following the law, contact Ohio EPA’s Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention.

The resources below are provided for those who are looking for more detailed information about recycling, waste reduction and environmental regulations related to waste management.

Ohio EPA's Answer Place and Publications Catalog

Use the Answer Place to search frequently asked questions or submit your own. You may also look through the publications catalog for forms, guidance documents, publications, newsletters, checklists etc. on a variety of Ohio EPA issues and topics.

Compliance Assistance and Rulemaking Information

Sign up for Ohio EPA's information service to receive resources, such as division newsletters, fact sheets, training announcements, information on funding opportunities and others. For several divisions, this service also includes notification of new rules or changes in rules.

Litter Collection and Prevention Grants

Ohio EPA's competitive grant funding is targeted at Ohio's local governments, colleges and universities, solid waste management districts/authorities, health districts, soil and water conservation districts and private sector businesses for a variety of recycling, litter clean-up and scrap tire management projects. Read more here.

Ohio Statewide Litter Study

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention (DRLP) conducted a statewide litter study during the fall of 2003 and the spring of 2004. The objectives of the field research and sampling study included:

  • Producing statistically valid data representing the overall annual amount of litter by weight and volume, distribution and composition of roadside litter throughout the State of Ohio

  • Designing and documenting a sampling methodology to permit replication of the study in the future

  • Deriving conclusions about littering behavior to guide litter prevention education and future clean-up efforts

The study was conducted in both urban and rural areas on three types of roadways and on interchanges. Based on this study, 11,380 tons of litter are deposited annually on Ohio’s county, state, interstate, and U.S. routes, and 392 tons of litter are deposited annually on Ohio’s interchanges. The total annual estimated roadside litter in Ohio (for all road types and interchanges included in this study) is 11,772 tons.

For more information, read the entire Ohio Statewide Litter Study final report. 


Seven Sources of Litter

Often motorists and pedestrians are blamed for litter. According to Keep America Beautiful, however, they are just two of seven primary sources:

  • Household trash at the curbside

  • Dumpsters used by businesses

  • Loading docks

  • Construction and demolition sites

  • Uncovered trucks

  • Motorists

  • Pedestrians

Litter is a costly problem that we all end up paying for to clean up Ohio's highways, parks and waterways.

Litter Gets You Right Where You Live

The act of littering can harm the environment in many ways. Litter can cause injury to area wildlife, pose threats to human health and is aesthetically displeasing.

When discarded as litter, human-made materials, such as plastic, glass and aluminum, can cause external injury to animals or, if accidentally ingested, cause starvation or suffocation. These objects may also become the home for disease-spreading insects such as flies and mosquitoes.

What You Can Do To Help

Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.

  • Carry a litter bag in your car, boat and on your bicycle.

  • Securely cover trash containers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.

  • Cover and secure any vehicle, truck or trailer carrying a load. Tarps can prevent litter from falling or blowing onto the roadside.

  • When visiting parks and recreation areas, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy.

  • Encourage local gas stations and fast food restaurants to make trash receptacles available to the public.

  • Keep storage bins and dumpsters near loading docks to reduce debris from scattering.

The State of Ohio also offers excellent opportunities for volunteers to participate in clean-up programs: the Adopt-A-Highway program, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Transportation, as well as the Adopt-A-Waterway program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Litter: Facts and Prevention

Litter is misplaced solid waste, blown by wind and traffic and carried by water. It travels until trapped by a curb, building or fence. Once litter has accumulated, it invites people to add more.

A statewide study conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources found that over 11,000 tons of litter accumulates on Ohio's roadways each year. This litter doesn't just appear; it's the result of careless attitudes and waste handling. Is there anything to do about it? Knowing more about litter and where it comes from is a good place to start.

Junk mail creates 4 million tons of preventable waste each year. The enormous waste generated by junk mail has a big negative impact. This junk:

  • Costs taxpayers $320 million in disposal fees annually
  • Destroys 62 million trees a year
  • Creates 28 billion gallons of wastewater per year
  • Fills 3 percent of America’s landfills
  • Wastes resources because 44 percent is unopened, unread and trashed

Most junk mail companies get your name and information from just a few major mailing lists. By removing your name and information from these lists, you can cut the majority of the junk mail that clogs your mailbox and help to ease this wasteful practice. Here's who to contact to cut the junk:

Major Credit Agencies

End unsolicited credit card offers by telling the major credit agencies not to sell your information to direct mail and credit card companies. You’ll need your address, former address within two years and your social security number.
Call 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.

Or fill out the online form.

Do Not Mail List

Add your name to the Do Not Mail List maintained by This is a free service.

Mail Preference Service

Add your name to the Mail Preference Service maintained by the Direct Marketing Association. A $1 fee payable by credit card is used for verification purposes.

The DMA also maintains a Deceased Do Not Contact List that allows you to remove the names of any deceased relatives whose mail you are receiving.

Specific Companies/Catalogs

Notify specific companies or catalogs that you wish to be removed from their lists. Call the number listed on the mailing or catalog. Give them your catalog or customer number, on the back of the publication. Here are a few common mailers: 

Local Business and Supermarket Fliers

Each lose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card. Locate this address card, call directory assistance to get the phone number of the sender, and call to get off the list. These are the larger flyer agencies:

  • RedPlum: Click the link and fill out the form. Working email address is not necessary to submit form.

  • Val-Pak Coupons: Click the link and fill out the form. Working email address is not necessary to submit form.

  • Carol Wright: Call 1-800-67-TARGET to get off the list.

Mailing List of Major Sweepstakes Mailers

  • Publishers Clearinghouse: Call (800-645-9242) or by mail at Consumer & Privacy Affairs, Publishers Clearinghouse, 382 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050; or by email at

  • Readers Digest Sweepstakes: Phone (800-310-6261) or by mail at Reader's Digest, P.O. Box 50005, Prescott, AZ 86301-5005.

Ecological Mail Coalition

For businesses, enroll in the EcoLogical Mail Coalition, an initiative to help companies reduce junk mail by removing ex-employees from outside mailing lists. By taking these steps, you can free up space in your mailbox and space in our landfills. Just remember, any time you sign up for a new service or give out your personal information, such as name, address and telephone number to a company, that information could be sold to other companies. Avoid giving out your information whenever possible.  With that in mind, it is difficult to end junk mail entirely. For the mail pieces that you do receive, be sure to recycle them. 

Though less draining on natural resources, telemarketer calls and electronic junk mail are also annoying.  Unwanted solicitations come in many forms, including telemarketing, spam email and pop-up ads. Defenses include:


Stevens, April Grants Supervisor (614) 644-3783
Barnett, Marie Grants Administrator (614) 705-1019
Foulkes, Dave Environmental Specialist (614) 644-3118


Solid Waste District Coordinators and Policy Committee Chairpersons

Ohio EPA and ODNR participate in cleanup at A.W. Marion State Park
In October, employees from Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources joined students from the Ohio Christian University and Circleville High School to clean up A.W. Marion State Park in Hargus Lake. Ohio EPA provided supplies for the cleanup which included vests for volunteers, pickers and recycling containers.