Tennessee spends a lot on litter pickup

Published 1:57 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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A new report on litter control in Tennessee shows the state spends $23 million each year on litter pickup and prevention and there are an average 88.5 million pieces of litter on roads at any given time.

The 2022 study showed $5.5 million is granted each year from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to individual counties for roadway litter cleanup and abatement and the $23 million overall spent on litter comes from a soft drink and malt beverage tax.

Companies are charged a 1.9% gross receipt tax on the sale of bottled soft drinks in the state.

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“Overall, we learned that in the past six years, there has been a 12% reduction of litter on Tennessee roadways. While encouraging, there are still more than 88 million pieces of litter on public roads at any given time,” said TDOT Transportation Supervisor Denise Baker.

Local roads had the highest percentage of total litter at 80% while U.S. highways had the lowest litter per mile (7,386 pieces per mile).

Most of the litter was small with an estimated 679.7 million pieces (88%) items of litter were four inches or smaller.