CM: WGP Credit: Litter Prevention and Reduction Infrastructure

The Big Picture

WGP Credit: Litter Prevention and Reduction Infrastructure

(1 Point, Reciprocal)

Credit Summary

Litter prevention and reduction protects the environment, increases property values, and improves health and well-being. The goal of this credit is to beautify public areas, prevent materials from polluting the natural environment, and encourage proper handling of materials by local governments and waste management companies. 

Impact Summary

Statistical analysis of the issue shows that litter prevention and reduction is important for the health and well-being of people and the planet. The actions supported by this credit decrease the risk of diseases, particularly water-borne diseases, and limit eutrophication. Litter prevention is also beneficial for maintaining high property values.

Submittal Summary

Programming should focus on three areas: prevention, reduction, and enforcement. Prevention strategies should prioritize durable materials and the elimination of single use products. Reduction strategies focus on the availability and servicing of receptacles. Finally, enforcement should involve the discouraging, through penalization, of illegal dumping and littering. For more detailed examples of strategies, see the How to Meet the Requirements section.

Applicants should be prepared to submit documentation of meeting prevention, reduction, and enforcement requirements. For a detailed list of submittals, please see Required Documentation.

Case Studies and Benefits

Cities, and even entire states, have been successful in implementing legislation that prevents littering. Such programs include single-use bag bans, revitalized waste collection systems, and illegal dumping fines.

Additional resources, such as relevant definitions are available.

Intent and Requirements

Intent

To beautify public areas, prevent materials from polluting the natural environment, and encourage proper handling of materials by Local Governments and waste management companies. 

Local Government & Industry Requirements

Prevention 

Implement a program that encourages the adoption of durable products such  as reusable bags and cups and disincentivizes single-use alternatives or  eliminating disposable, single-use packaging at government sponsored  community events. 

Reduction 

Maintain a sufficient number of receptacles in public areas including  walkways, parks, and other public places.  

  • Receptacles should be both visible and have effective signage.  
  • Side by side receptacles for both recycling and trash. 
  • Receptacles must have openings that contain waste without impeding the introduction of new material (i.e. push flaps, tops). 

Consistent and Reliable Servicing of Receptacles 

  • A schedule is in place to appropriately empty receptacles nearing  capacity. 
  • Limit overflow events to zero (0) per year. 

Enforcement 

  • Demonstrate rapid cleanup of illegal dumping within 72 hours of being notified  of the illegal dumping. 
  • Demonstrate increased enforcement and fines for littering and illegal  dumping.  
  • Add signage stating no litter or dumping.

Why We Care

Litter is expensive and dangerous. Over 7 billion tons of debris enter the world’s oceans annually. Over 100,000 sea mammals are killed by plastic litter annually. Litter in waterways increases eutrophication and introduces toxic chemicals, leading to the spread of water-borne diseases. Litter also decreases air quality. These negative environmental impacts are important empirically, as well as financially. Poor water and air quality and visible litter decrease community attractiveness and harm brand image. Litter decreases property values by around 7 percent. The US spends over $11.5 billion annually on litter clean-up, and individual municipalities can pay more than $790 million per year.

How to Meet the Requirements

***This table represents a brief overview of strategies for meeting this credit and their applicability to industries and/or local governments. For more detailed information on each strategy, see below the table.*** 

Strategy Local Government Industry
Eliminate disposable, single-use packaging and products at internal and sponsored events
Maintain a sufficient number of receptacles in high-use areas. Receptacles should be visible and have effective signage.
Provide receptacles for both recycling and trash.
Demonstrate rapid cleanup of illegal dumping within 72 hours of being notified of the illegal dumping.
Demonstrate increased enforcement and fines for littering and illegal dumping.
Maintain consistent and reliable servicing of receptacles.
Ban plastic bags (either within a governing district or private enterprise) For grocery or other carry-out stores
Analyze usage of street bin infrastructure and develop/adjust schedules based on seasonality and city events.
Include support for container deposit return systems, which have proven effective at significantly reducing litter and marine/waterway debris.

Prevention

Implement a program that encourages the adoption of Durable Products such as reusable bags and cups and disincentivizes single-use alternatives or eliminating disposable, single-use packaging at government sponsored community events.

Reduction

Maintain a sufficient number of Receptacles in public areas including walkways, parks, and other public places.

  • Receptacles should be both visible and have effective signage.
  • Side by side receptacles for both recycling and trash.
  • Receptacles must have openings that contain waste without impeding the introduction of new material (i.e. push flaps, tops).
  • Consistent and reliable servicing of receptacles.
    • A schedule is in place to appropriately empty receptacles nearing capacity.
    • Limit Overflow Events to zero (0) per year.

Enforcement

    • Demonstrate rapid cleanup of illegal dumping within 72 hours of being notified of the Illegal Dumping.
    • Demonstrate increased enforcement and fines for littering and illegal dumping.
    • Add signage stating no littering or dumping.

Required Documentation

Applicants should be prepared to submit documentation of meeting prevention, reduction, and enforcement requirements. Upload each required document listed below. 

 

             PREVENTION                          REDUCTION                                         ENFORCEMENT

UPLOAD

A policy/program description
  • Photos of representative receptacles and receptacle signage
  • Servicing schedule sample
  • Overflow report
  • Clean up report
  • Enforcement and fine reportage
  • Photo of no littering/no dumping signage

Case Studies

Prevention: California Plastic Bag Ban

In 2014, California became the first state to ban the distribution of single-use carry-out bags by retail stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores with a Type 20 or Type 21 from the DABC. Stores are allowed to provide reusable and/or recyclable bags at a minimum charge of $0.10 to the customer. The goal of the charge is to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags each time. All reusable bags sold by entities affected by the ban must have a handle, be designed for at least 125 uses, have at least 15 liters of capacity, be machine washable or capable of being cleaned and disinfected; and have the manufacturer’s name, country, and a statement that the bag is a reusable bag designed for at least 125 uses printed on the bag or on a tag, as well as recycling instructions if the bag is recyclable.

Reduction: City of Madison Collection Schedule Look-up

To ensure consistent and reliable servicing of waste receptacles, the city of Madison, Wisconsin has developed a detailed collection schedule. Residents can enter their address into an online database (see image below) and receive a personalized collection schedule.

The schedule not only gives weekly collection dates, but also shows which items will be collected on those dates. In the example shown below (a typical single family home), refuse is collected once a week while large items and recycling are collected on alternate weeks.

Enforcement: Montgomery County, Maryland Fines for Illegal Dumping

Montgomery County is an example of a local municipality with enforceable penalties for dumping. Their laws provide a definition of dumping, and the county website provides resources that explain how to lawfully dispose of materials. They provide information on how dumping negatively affects different community groups, such as farmers and businesses. They also have a hotline that residents can call to report instances of illegal dumping. Illegal dumping is subject to a minimum $500 civil fine and the possibility of criminal prosecution. 

Additional Resources

Figure 1.1

 

Figure 1.2

Definitions

Adopt a Street Programs

SF Public Works Definition: The Adopt-A-Street Program is a partnership between the City and its merchants and residents. Groups or individuals agree to adopt an area and take responsibility for keeping the street, sidewalk, and storm drain clean. In return, we provide free street cleaning supplies, and litter and compostable leaf bag pickup.

Container Deposit Return Programs

A scheme whereby adding a small deposit on top of the price of a container (such as plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans) is refunded to the consumer when they return the empty vessel which can then be processed for recycling. 

Durable Products

EPA Definition: Products with a lifetime of three years or more, although there are some exceptions.

Illegal Dumping

EPA Definition: Illegal Dumping is the disposal of waste in an unpermitted area. Materials are often dumped in open areas, from vehicles along roadsides, and late at night. Illegally dumped wastes are primarily nonhazardous materials that are dumped to avoid either disposal fees or the time and effort required for proper disposal.

Littering

Cambridge Dictionary Definition: To drop rubbish on the ground in a public place

Overflow Events

When a receptacle is filled beyond capacity and cannot be contained properly.  

Receptacle Monitoring Systems

Technology that employs sensors to track and manage receptabel and dumpster fill levels allowing for proactive management and a comprehensive understanding of waste generation at the point of disposal.

Receptacles

Law Insider Definition: a container which is intended to receive trash and other solid waste

Single-use Products

Sustainability Victoria Definition: Single-use items or disposable items are products and packaging that we throw out after only one use

“Smart Bins”

Guardforce Definition: Smart bins are an intelligent waste management system. They have wireless ultrasonic fill-level sensors embedded inside which detect how full the bin is and then, through the IoT, this data is sent to a cloud-based monitoring and analytics platform. On the basis of this data, waste collection services can optimise their routes and frequency.

Street Bin Infrastructure

The design, number, and location of public litter bins and other street receptacles aimed at capturing litter and recycling. 

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