By discarding possessions improperly, consumers contribute to the critical matter of mismanaged waste.

blue bin


It is paramount to acknowledge litter as a people problem rather than a product issue. Studies indicate [1] that 81% of littering behavior occurs with notable intent, regardless of the material being discarded. In many areas, the items accumulating the most litter are tobacco products, with a litter rate of 57% for cigarette butts alone. In contrast, all fast food packaging (the largest component of all foodservice packaging) makes up less than 6 percent of total litter. [2]


As public awareness of marine debris grows, more information has become available regarding ecological, economic, and aesthetic implications. According to a study performed by Ocean Conservancy and their partners [3], marine debris falls into two main categories: fishing-related gear and end-use consumer items. While cigarette butts remain at the top of the list for items collected in coastal clean-up efforts, fishing equipment, such as buoys, traps, and nets rank highest for their expected negative impact on marine life including entanglement, ingestion, and contamination. Plastic bags, utensils, and balloons also rank above food packaging and other foam packaging products for the expected negative impact on marine animals.

Comprehensive anti-litter efforts including the use of public trash cans, increased clean-up efforts, and enforcement of anti-litter laws and education campaigns are necessary to keep our streets and waterways clean.

[1] Keep America Beautiful. (2010). Key Findings: Littering Behavior. In Litter in America.
[2] Foodservice Packaging Institute. (2015). Foodservice Packaging: The Environment.
[3] Elsevier. (2015). Marine Policy. Using Expert Elicitation to Estimate the Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Marine Wildlife.