Research and experience have shown that litter is the result of individual behavior. It is an individual choice to litter or to be careless in the handling of waste. Once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter, begetting a myriad of consequences for both us and for the environment. A clean community, by contrast, actually discourages littering and improves the community appearance and quality of life.
We all have a role to play in the prevention of litter. It takes just one person, one school, one business, one organization to positively impact the behavior of others in their community.
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To eliminate litter, Keep America Beautiful's (KAB) research shows we have to address both littering behavior and change the environment. According to KAB’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study:
About 85% of littering is the result of individual attitudes. Changing individual behavior is key to preventing litter.
Nearly one in five, or 17%, of all disposals observed in public spaces were littering. The remainder (83%) was properly discarded in a trash or recycling receptacle.
A strong contributor to littering is the prevalence of existing litter. About 15% of littering is affected by the environment. Litter on the ground begets more litter.