Litterbugs: 7 million pounds collected from NC roadsides already this year

Published 8:11 am Monday, June 14, 2021

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The N.C. Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors and volunteers have collected more than 7 million pounds of litter from roadsides and are on pace to exceed the record for litter collection set in 2019.   

“Easing COVID restrictions and summer break means more people out on the roads, and that means more people could be littering across our beautiful state,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “Whether you’re driving to the coast, the mountains or anywhere in between, make sure to always secure your load and don’t throw trash out the window.”

NCDOT reports that the agency and its partners have removed 7 million pounds of litter since Jan. 1. At this rate, NCDOT will exceed the 10.5 million pounds of litter collected in 2019.   

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 by downloading the app at

In addition, the 2021 Fall Litter Sweep will be held from 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 can help keep North Carolina clean by:

• securing loads before driving;

• clearing any loose items from truck beds;

• keeping a trash bag in the vehicle or refraining from throwing garbage out of their vehicle until it can be disposed of properly;

• recycling when possible. Recycling decreases contamination, saves landfill space, creates jobs and keeps the community clean.