Hinkley Center, 1997

In 1993 the Florida Legislature established a 50% litter reduction goal for the period of 1994 through 1997. The Legislature directed the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (the Center) to develop a scientifically reliable methodology and to conduct annual
surveys to measure the state's progress toward the litter reduction goal. This report presents the results of the fourth annual survey, which was conducted in 1997. Previous reports published by the Center have presented the results of the 1994, 1995, and 1996 annual surveys.

Roadsides are a useful indicator of the amount of litter in the environment, although they are not the only places where litter accumulates. In 1997, the Center surveyed 10 roadside sites in each of Florida's 67 counties, for a total of 670 sites. The survey counted 46,035 large and small litter items and classified them into 86 categories. The survey covered 134,000 linear feet, or more than 25 miles of roadway. Taking into account the total area of the 670 sites, the survey covered more than 3.1 million square feet along Florida's roadways.

The frequent mowing of Florida's roadsides has a mulching effect on litter and it would be impractical to attempt to count every small piece of paper, glass, hard plastic, or polystyrene foam, for example. Therefore, items 4 square inches or larger in size were classified as "large litter" and items under 4 square inches were classified as "small litter." Most of the small litter items identified are broken or mulched pieces of large litter. Cigarette butts accounted for 24-33% of small litter items during the four years of the Center's study. Of the two classifications, large litter warrants more concern. Not only are large litter items more visible along the roadside, but they tend to become "small litter" when mowed.

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