Litter & Plastic FAQs

Who's responsible for cleaning up litter?

There’s no real straightforward answer to this question. It really depends on where the litter is located. Litter along interstates and major highways is typically the responsibility of the state’s department of transportation (DOT). If the litter is located on private property, then the property owner is responsible. Litter found in parks and other public spaces is typically the responsibility of those that work for the park.

Volunteers, however, are heavily relied on to clean-up litter no matter where it’s located.

Does INDOT have a litter clean-up program?

Yes, INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) does have a litter clean-up program. As part of their Next Level Roads initiative, they have an educational anti-litter campaign running, along with physical litter collections, to reduce litter along Indiana highways. In addition, INDOT offers several other litter related programs.

  • Adopt-a-Highway works with groups/organizations in the community that pickup litter along Indiana highways in two-mile stretches.
  • Sponsor-a-Highway works with groups/organizations in the community that hire private companies to pickup litter along Indiana highways not covered in the Adopt-a-Highway program.
  • Trash Bash is an annual spring weekend clean-up of litter and debris along Indiana highways.

How can I volunteer or help with litter clean-ups?

You don’t need to be part of an organized effort to help with litter clean-up. Just grab a trash bag and walk through your neighborhood – you’re sure to find plenty of trash along roadside right-of-ways, waterways, or storm drains. Here are some other ways to be involved in local clean-ups.

Is there a difference between littering and illegal dumping?

There is a difference between littering and illegal dumping, however, the difference between the two often varies from state-to-state. The difference is often determined by the type and amount. Littering, for example, would be throwing an empty to-go cup out along the side of the road. Throwing out an old mattress, refrigerator, or multiple bags full of trash would be considered illegal dumping.  It’s also important to note that improper disposal of hazardous or toxic items might also be considered illegal dumping even though the item may be small in size.