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End Littering

For more than six decades, Keep America Beautiful has served as our country’s nonprofit steward of litter prevention.

Litter is more than just a mark on our landscape. Litter is costly to clean up, impacts our quality of life and economic development, and eventually ends up in our waterways and oceans. Among our many initiatives, the Keep America Beautiful® Litter Index and Community Appearance Index are step-by-step methods of assessing current litter conditions and other indicators which is used in thousands of communities and by municipalities nationwide. Today, we are as committed as ever to providing people with the resources to help prevent litter with the ultimate goal of helping to end littering in America.

Get the most up-to-date research and information on litter and littering behavior and learn about our programs to help you take action in your community.

Litter Research

In 2009, Keep America Beautiful invested in a landmark study, called “Litter in America.” Among the highlights: Litter cleanup costs more than $11.5 billion each year. The indirect costs of litter are also considerable. For example, the presence of litter in a community decreases property values by 7 percent.

Today, there are more than 50 billion pieces of litter on our nation’s roadways with 4.6 billion pieces larger than four inches in size. Tobacco products continue to be the most prevalent aggregate litter item, comprising more than 35 percent of all litter. Following the landmark 2009 “Litter in America” study, Keep America Beautiful embarked on a new path to address other issues related to improving communities.

Working with our State Leaders Council, leaders from affiliates in major metropolitan areas, and consulting firm Econsult Solutions Inc., we produced a National Literature Review on Blight in partnership with the Vacant Properties Research Network, an initiative of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. We’re now working on development of a user-friendly calculator tool that will estimate costs imposed on a community. You can access these reports in the Research section of the site.

Community Appearance Index

Each year, our powerful network of community-based affiliates conducts a comprehensive assessment of the overall appearance of their community using indicators such as litter, illegal signs, graffiti and more.

This proprietary tool, called the Community Appearance Index, is designed to gather data annually by surveying a random, statistical sample of a city or town. The annual results are then used to develop a local plan to change attitudes and behaviors regarding litter and related issues.

For more information about the Community Appearance Index, contact our Affiliate Services Department.

Cigarette Litter Prevention Program

The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) is the nation’s largest program aimed at eliminating cigarette litter. Since its inception, the program has been successfully implemented in more than 1,700 U.S. communities nationwide.

Over the past 10 years, the CLPP has consistently cut cigarette butt litter by approximately 50 percent in the first four months to six months after program implementation. The initiative provides grant funding and easily accessible information about ash receptacles, pocket and portable ashtrays, and other education and awareness tools.

Learn more by going to the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program website.

Research & Information