What You Can Do

Going Green doesn't have to cost a lot of green. Use of these simple tips to make a positive impact on the environment while keeping your wallet intact. It's easy!


Litter can harm the environment. It is unsightly and uncollected litter can attract more. Animals may get trapped or poisoned with litter in their habitats. Litter can end up in rivers polluting the water supply. A large amount of floating waste ends up in the Great Atlantic Garbage Patch. Plastic waste can be consumed by wildlife, with negative health consequences.

Vermin are right in places with high amounts of litter. Open containers such as paper cups or beverage cans can hold rainwater, providing breeding locations for mosquitoes which have been known to cause disease like the West Nile Virus or malaria. It is also a road hazard and can occasionally contribute to accidents.

Litter Quiz

  1. Styrofoam never degrades. (True or False)
  2. An apple core can be classified as litter. (True or False)
  3. After a few months, a cigarette butt thrown onto the ground will likely decay. (True or False)
  4. It takes 350 years for an aluminum can to decompose. (True or False)
  5. Littering is against the law. (True or False)
  6. It's illegal to drive a vehicle with an unsecured load. (True or False)
  7. Litter can lead to the spread of certain diseases. (True or False)
  8. Litter doesn't move from place to place. (True or False)
  9. Every year, motorists drop over 16,000 pieces of litter per mile on TN highways. (True or False)
  10. Taxpayer dollars are spent to pick up litter. (True or False)


  1. True- Polystyrene never degrades. The US uses more than 25 billion polystyrene cups each year, enough to circle the globe 436 times.
  2. True- Simply put, "litter" is trash not disposed of properly.
  3. False- It takes 13 years for a cigarette butt to decompose.
  4. True- A glass container NEVER decomposes. Remember, both can be recycled.
  5. True- Littering is illegal in Tennessee. Criminal fines of $250-$2,500 can be imposed for violations as well as up to one year in prison.
  6. True- Allowing unsecured items to fall from a vehicle is the same as tossing trash out the window.
  7. True- Litter harms adults, children, pets and wildlife. One cubic foot of garbage can generate 75,000 flies.
  8. False- Litter makes its way into streams and rivers and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean, harming waterfowl, plants, and aquatic life and habitats all along the way.
  9. True- This litter totals 60,000 tons statewide. Keep Tennessee clean- carry a litter bag in your vehicle.
  10. True- Many millions of dollars are spent by Federal, State, and Local governments to address problems caused by litter.