Office of Maintenance
Other Adopt a Highway Programs
- International Adopt a Highway Association
- North Carolina
Recycling and Waste Reduction Reports
Help keep litter off our highways
View The Dangers of Plastic Bags Slide Presentation
Why should I care?
- Litter is unsightly. It destroys the natural beauty of Minnesota’s roadsides.
- Litter is expensive. Minnesota spends $5 million a year collecting litter – not counting what cities and counties spend.
- Scenic and litter-free highways say “welcome” to visitors and help make us proud to be Minnesotans.
- Adopt-a-Highway volunteers pick up litter on more than 12,000 miles of Minnesota roadways.
- Adopt-a-Highway volunteers pick up approximately 26,000 tons of litter every year.
- During a one-time sweep of Interstate 35W in Minneapolis, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers picked up 192 tons of trash in one day. The quantity filled 16 MnDOT tandem trucks and represented approximately 6,000 filled trash bags.
- Researchers calculate that 55 percent of all littering is done intentionally by people who drop or discard products.
- 45% of roadside litter occurs unintentionally when trash blows out of uncovered trucks or falls off unsecured loads.
- Experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of all littering is done by males.
- Food and beverage packaging constitutes 51 percent of roadside litter.
- A conviction for littering is a misdemeanor that is entered on the offender's driving record. Any second or subsequent offense shall require a minimum fine in the amount of $400. A judge may also order the offender to pick up litter along any public highway or road for four to eight hours under the direction of the Department of Transportation, with the option of a jail sentence being imposed. (Minn. Statutes 169.42 subp. 5)
- Mn/DOT can bill an individual for retrieving and disposing of illegally dumped items like tires, appliances, furniture and hazardous waste.
- Adopt-a-Highway volunteers save MnDOT $5 million every year.
- Tipping fees imposed by landfills cost MnDOT approximately $250,000 every year.
Life span of Litter:
|Glass bottle||1 million years|
|Plastic 6-pack cover||450 years|
|Aluminum can||200-500 years|
|Rubber boot sole||50-80 years|
|Leather||up to 50 years|
|Nylon fabric||30-40 years|
|Plastic film container||20-30 years|
|Painted wooden stake||13 years|
|Plastic bag||10-20 years|
|Plastic coated paper||5 years|
|Wool clothing||1-5 years|
|Cigarette butt||1-5 years|
|Cotton rag||1-5 months|
|Orange or banana peel||2-5 weeks|
|Source: California Waste Management Bulletin|