Litter Survey in Virginia

Report No: 77-R8

Published in 1976

About the report:

This report summarizes the findings of the litter survey for highways, urban areas, and recreational areas as specified in the "Virginia Litter Control Act". Litter samples from 61 highway sites, 11 urban sites, and 10 recreational sites geographically distributed throughout the state were obtained and sorted into categories as indicated in Table 1 of the report. Item count, volume, and weight were determined for each category for each litter sample. For analysis purposes, data were summarized into product group categories for highways, urban areas, and recreational areas. These summarized data are shown in Tables 9, 10 and 11. While the percentage contributions vary somewhat between the types of areas mentioned, the same ten product groups account for approximately 80% or more of the litter for each type of area. Statewide litter proportions by product groups were estimated, for all types of areas combined, assuming various proportional contributions from each area type. These combined data, as shown in Tables 12-15, indicate that beer products (bottles, cans, cartons) constitute the largest proportion of litter, being about 29% by item count, 41% by weight, and 27% by volume. The next four major contributions by product group are soft drink products, grocery wrappers and containers, prepared food wrappers and containers, and snack food wrappers and containers, with the order of importance being different by item count, weight, and volume.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Stephen N. Runkle

Last updated: January 28, 2024

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