Litter Survey: Status Report 1

Report No: 79-R37

Published in 1979

About the report:

At the request of the Division of Litter Control of the Department of Conservation and Economic Development, the Research Council has initiated a litter survey program at approximately 25 sites on the state highway system. The purpose of this program is to determine changes in the quantities of litter generated at these sites. The purpose of this initial report is to discuss the final selection of the sites and to discuss the results of the initial litter survey of these sites. The initial survey results indicated a large within site variability between pickups (see Appendix D), probably due to conditioning at these sites; i.e., people may be less likely to litter at sites cleaned frequently. This result led to a change in procedure for one-half the sites remaining in the study whereby litter would not be cleaned from the sites during a survey but increases in litter from one survey period to the next would be estimated by visual counts. Also, this initial survey indicated that the proportion of paper and plastic items is probably dependent to some degree on the time intervals between pickups or surveys, with the proportion being higher for shorter time intervals. Finally, the proportion of paper and plastic items found in this initial survey was somewhat higher (about 5% to 10%) than the proportion found in the 1976 survey.

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 26, 2024

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