Fighting Litter

Litter is a huge problem for Pennsylvania, as it negatively impacts the environment, public safety, and our economy. Put simply, litter is trash that is in the wrong place – our neighborhoods, cities, public land, waterways, and roadways, instead of trash cans and recycling bins. The major contributing factors to litter is – litter. People are more likely to litter in areas that already have trash and are less likely in otherwise clean areas.

PRC has been fighting against litter for decades and operates across the state to prevent the damage that litter can cause.

The Problem With Litter

Litter poses huge threats to our environment and wildlife. Garbage dumped in natural areas can kill or stunt plant growth or clog up waterways. Broken down bits of plastic and other trash often resemble food to many types of wildlife, often injuring or killing them. Land and aquatic animals can easily get caught in plastic rings, bags, and fishing line which strangle, cut, or immobilize them. In fact, millions of birds, fish, and other animals die as a result of litter each year.

Litter also poses safety risks to the people and visitors of Pennsylvania. Litter along our roadways cause traffic accidents every year, leading to injuries and deaths. Litter in our neighborhoods can cut or otherwise injure children or pets. Accumulation of litter can also pose fire hazards, and can serve as breeding grounds for potentially dangerous bacteria and vermin.

Litter also damages Pennsylvania’s economy. Every year PennDOT spends millions of taxpayer dollars to clean up litter along our roadways. In our communities, litter lowers property values and in historic and natural areas, litter loses valuable tourist dollars for the Commonwealth. Litter is unsightly and is widely accepted as a contributing factor in the overall disintegration of neighborhoods and communities and as leading to more serious problems including vandalism, graffiti, illegal dumping and more.

And of course, litter is illegal. Litterbugs can be charged as much as $300 for littering from a vehicle in Pennsylvania, and most local governments will also fine pedestrians for littering.

Don't Trash My Turf

Don’t Trash My Don't Trash My Turf 2Turf is one of PRC’s anti-litter campaigns, generously funded by the Colcom Foundation. This program aims to raise awareness of litter and the damage it causes to Pittsburgh as well as to the entire region. Beyond awareness, this campaign encourages community members to take action to protect their communities and their home turf. Citizens are urged to clean up litter, challenge litterbugs to think about their actions, and keep Pittsburgh beautiful!

The most recent installation of the Don’t Trash My Turf is “The Crying Steelers Fan” PSA filmed in Pittsburgh and aired on KDKA throughout the fall of 2014. Check out past DTMT videos and projects here.

Not in Philly

Not in Philly, a partnership project of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, is an innovative anti-litter initiative which harnesses web app technology to make it easy for Philadelphia residents to help clean up their neighborhoods.  Currently being piloted in the Walnut Hill section of West Philadelphia, allows residents to adopt a block in their neighborhood and receive free materials for litter cleanups, including grabbers, bags and gloves.  Participants can publicize their efforts with before and after photos linked to social media through the site, and win incentives including gift cards to local businesses.  Click here to visit to adopt your block or ask to have your neighborhood to become a Not in Philly participating community.

Crying Steelers Fan PSA

The Crying Steelers Fan PSA is the most recent installation of the Don’t Trash My Turf campaign. This project, generously funded by the Colcom Foundation, is aimed at reducing litter in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

Inspired by the famous 1970s Keep America Beautiful “Crying Indian” PSA against litter and pollution, our Steelers fan travels around Pittsburgh and is shocked by the litter he sees scattered around his city. This new campaign challenges residents to look beyond cleaning up litter, and instead works to pressure litterbugs against littering.

PRC invites every Pennsylvanian to fight litter by cleaning up litter in your communities and by taking a stand against litterbugs. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors against littering and get involved with active anti-litter groups in your area.

Wanting to spread the message further? PRC, and its partner, KDKA, invited filmmakers and citizens of the Pittsburgh area to show us how litter impacts their life and city in our 2015 Anti-Litter Commercial Contest!


Winners had their ad air on KDKA in the Summer of 2015. Visit the project’s main page to learn more.

Lens on Litter Contest

Since 1984 PRC has sponsored an annual Lens on Litter photo contest to call attention to the litter problem in communities across Pennsylvania. More than 4,000 photos have been submitted over the years and comprise a “Rogue’s Galley” of the Litterbug at work. The photos become the property of PRC and winning photos are displayed on the PRC website. Any photos not meeting contest regulations will not be judged.

Click here for more information, access to the online entry form, and to see last year’s winners.

Litterbug Mascot

owwVqOUOur Litterbug mascot appears at many public events. He’s a great awareness tool for spreading the Don’t Be A Litterbug message!

If you are located in the Pittsburgh area and would like to borrow the Litterbug Mascot Costume for your event call 412-488-7490 or email [email protected].

For Southeast or Central Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, call 610-353-1555 ext. 230.

Other Anti-Litter Organizations

PRC is not alone in the fight against litter. Check out these partner groups to learn more about litter and what you can do to fight it in your communities!

Allegheny Cleanways

Allegheny CleanWays empowers people to eliminate illegal dumping and littering in Allegheny County. Over the years, Allegheny CleanWays has been instrumental in engaging and partnering with community groups to remove dumps and debris from vacant lots, greenways, streets, and riverbanks.

Citizens Against Litter

Citizens Against Litter is a loosely connected group of Pittsburgh residents and merchants who are passionate about picking up litter in our neighborhoods.

Clean Pittsburgh Commission

The CPC’s mission is: to work to improve the environmental quality of life of Pittsburgh residents through litter and illegal dumping prevention, clean-up and enforcement. The CPC is comprised of 15 representatives from various City departments, local non-profits, individuals and community groups.

Community Life Improvement Program

CLIP is made up of a number of programs and agencies in the Philadelphia government that works to improve the appearance of neighborhoods by eradicating blight.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is empowering Pennsylvanians to make our communities clean and beautiful.

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, works with communities to improve their neighborhoods’ physical and visual aspects.

Leave No Trace – Center for Outdoor Ethics

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, and is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program used on public lands.

Paddle Without Pollution

Paddle Without Pollution is working to restore and protect the health of the rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands of Pennsylvania.

PennDOT  Adopt-A-Highway

PennDOT offers numerous beautification programs programs in a concerted effort to reduce the costs of removing unsightly litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, including: Adopt-A-Highway, Adopt and Beautify and the Great PA Cleanup.

Pick It Up Philly

Pick It Up Philly is a project of the Philadelphia Streets Department is a city-wide campaign to encourage all Philadephians to fight litter through weekly curbside pickups, a focus on recycling, sanitation convenience centers and more.

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership was formed by Downtown businesses, professionals, civic organizations, foundations, and residents who strive to develop and implement innovative programs and initiatives to enhance the Downtown neighborhood.

Student Conservation Association Pittsburgh Office

The Student Conservation Association is dedicated to building the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

Venture Outdoors

Venture Outdoors works to connect people to the outdoors by encouraging everyone to participate in outdoor recreational activities.

City of Pittsburgh 311 Response Center

The City of Pittsburgh 311 Resource Center offer assistance for any help with any non-emergency City of Pittsburgh concerns or questions.