Clean Out Your Car Day spreads anti-littering message

J. H. Osborne • May 9, 2019 at 11:49 AM

KINGSPORT — Keep Kingsport Beautiful and Visit Kingsport took the Nobody Trashes Tennessee litter prevention message on the road Wednesday as part of National Tourism Week (May 5-11).

Their Clean Team greeted motorists at the I-26 welcome center for Clean Out Your Car Day. The goal: Get the message out to travelers that there’s a way to keep your car clean without tossing litter onto Tennessee roadways.

KKB recently received a $95,000 Special Litter Grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“We’re at the start of the busy summer travel months, and we want to remind everyone that it’s easy to have a clean car without littering,” said Robin Cleary, KKB executive director. “TDOT’s research has shown that our state’s worst litterers throw their trash out the window in order to keep their cars clean. National Tourism Week is a great time to reach travelers with our message.”

The Clean Team offered motorists a free car cleaning that included trash removal, floorboard vacuuming and windshield cleaning. The team also distributed car litter bags and reusable car ashtrays.

“We are excited to be partnering with Keep Kingsport Beautiful on this effort,” said Jud Teague, executive director of Visit Kingsport. “Part of offering a warm welcome to our visitors is showing we care about keeping our community clean.”

Litter facts

• It costs taxpayers at least $15 million annually to pick up litter in Tennessee.

• Overall, the state of littering in Tennessee has improved significantly in the last 10 years, dropping by 53 percent. However, 2016 research shows there are still 100 million pieces of litter on TDOT rights-of-way.

• A statewide litter study is conducted in Tennessee every 10 years. These studies identify the amount of litter on yje state’s roads, the types of litter, where it can be found, and actionable findings that will strengthen litter prevention efforts. Ultimately, the goal is to be strategic in reducing litter pickup costs to taxpayers.

• There are 100 million total pieces of litter on Tennessee roadways, down 53 percent since 2006.

• Twenty-eight percent of litter is classified as intentional litter, meaning it’s thrown out of vehicle windows.

• Seventy-two percent is considered negligent litter, which includes vehicle debris and trash flying out of uncovered pickup beds.

• Beverage containers, lids, and straws are the biggest problem with deliberate litter (11 percent). Within that category, snack food packaging (6 percent); napkins, paper bags, and tissues (5 percent); and cigarette packaging (2 percent) represent the next most significant items.

• Interstates have the most negligent litter, while state highways, U.S. highways, and local roads have more deliberate litter.

• Litter accumulates in places of high traffic and in places where little to no personal ownership is present, such as rest stops.

• The primary target audience for Nobody Trashes Tennessee is women in the 16-34 age group, with 71 percent of them describing themselves as litterers — higher than any other gender or age range. The secondary audience was identified to be men 16-34, with 64 percent of them describing themselves as litterers.

• Nine out of 10 Tennesseans surveyed said, once being made aware of the litter problem, that they’re willing to properly dispose of their trash. Key messages that resonated most included the $15 million cost of litter and reminders about how litter accumulates on roadways.

• Eighty-one percent of survey respondents said that they would refrain from littering if a child, including their own, asked them not to litter.