Litter CampaignUPDATE: Beginning in 2009 funding for the Litter and it will Hurt campaign was suspended due to transfer of litter tax monies to fund other state priorities. The suspension of the campaign will continue through at least 2015. The campaign material on these websites is for historical purposes. Campaign Background and Purpose
Litter hurts. Every year in Washington State, over 12 million pounds of "stuff" are tossed and blown onto interstate, state, and county roads. Another 6 million pounds are tossed in parks and recreation areas. Programs funded through Ecology spend over $4 million dollars each year picking up this litter. Litter creates an eyesore, harms wildlife and their habitats, and puts motorists at risk. Many of us (about 25 percent) would never consider littering. Some of us (about 25 percent) litter most of the time. Almost half of us litter occasionally, but can be persuaded to stop.
With the help of a team of consultants, Ecology developed a prevention strategy to help reduce intentional littering on roadways. It aims to reach a broad audience to raise and maintain awareness, and to reach people who cause most of the problem. The strategy relies heavily on the partnership and involvement of state agencies, local governments and (litter) tax-paying businesses. It includes media sponsorships and a system to measure campaign outcomes. The strategy includes a short-term plan to raise awareness and requires a long-term commitment for behavior change.
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There are two major audiences for the campaign: those who litter and those who don’t. Target audiences for littering include the five major segments. These segments cause the majority of litter on roadways. The first four segments are motorists or passengers who toss cigarette butts, alcoholic beverage containers, food wrappers, or other beverage containers from their vehicles. The fifth segment consists of drivers of pickup trucks that don’t have properly secured loads and who don’t clean out the back of their pickup trucks before driving. Campaign messages also aim at those drivers and passengers who don’t litter.
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Campaign strategies support three separate objectives:
To create awareness uses major media to spread the word. The messages are that the fines for littering are significant and that people can call a toll-free number to report littering. Media includes roadway signs and billboards, television and radio advertising, public relations activities, special events, and messages on materials such as litterbags and posters.
To make people believe that littering doesn't go unnoticed and that people do care about the litter problem, the campaign uses additional strategies. These strategies include:
Ecology uses a baseline and follow-up surveys of Washington State residents to measure:
The campaign tracks several additional measures including:
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