Iowans weigh in on litter

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A recent survey of over 800 Iowans completed for Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) found that Iowan's have a high level of awareness of Keep Iowa Beautiful. The survey indicated that 53% of Iowans know about KIB.

The following are some additional points regarding litter issues:

*80% of Iowans feel that litter is problem.

*Even though 80% feel it is a problem statewide -- 66% of Iowans feel that it is a lesser problem in their community.

*Iowans feel that the primary sources of litter are:

Fast food / convenience store containers 53%(40 to 44%)
Cans and bottles of all types48% (5%)
Plastic bags26%(1%)
Tobacco products11%(37%)

Tires, automotive items, construction

material and animal carcasses9%(13%)

When asked which of these sources has the greatest impact on the landscape - fast food, convenience store containers, cups & packaging, plastic bags and tobacco products were considered to have a major impact on the environment.

More than half of Iowans are not aware of the fines for people caught littering. About 52% answered by saying that the current fine is $100. Rural residents tend to have a higher level of knowledge of the fines.

When told the actual penalty of $70 and asked if they would favor an increase in penalties -- 68% of those surveyed indicated they would favor an increase in the penalty level. Younger Iowans tended to be stronger in favoring an increase.

An estimated 70% of Iowans are familiar with the "Adopt A Road" program with little knowledge of any other anti-litter education efforts including a low level of knowledge of the litter hotline.

The results of the survey indicate that KIB is in a position to accelerate efforts to aid in litter prevention and these would be supported by Iowans.

Litter and illegal dumping costs Iowans nearly $30 million dollars per year. Even with a small percentage of funding for education and public awareness efforts (supported by a potential increase in penalties) the return to Iowans would be extremely high in terms of the reduction of this $30 million cost.

In other words "an ounce of prevention can provide a pound of cure."