PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) – Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and PalmettoPride announced a comprehensive joint study on the efficacy of state litter statutes and enforcement practices and procedures.

This multi-state study is the first of its kind in the country and can serve as a benchmark to measure litter control enforcement efforts across the country.

The two states engaged with Carson Consulting to review existing state litter laws and interview key stakeholders to evaluate the strength of the states’ current litter enforcement tools and systems. Carson Consulting conducted a mixed-methods study examining five years of data from 2016 – 2020 and conducted interviews with representatives of law enforcement and judicial officers to gain on-the-ground insight.

A primary focus of the research included examining Pennsylvania and South Carolina statutes regarding penalties and reviewing the attitudes, behaviors, and influences that emerge by comparing case disposition with interviews.

Four key takeaways from the study reveal that enforcement is considered necessary to stopping littering and illegal dumping, but that activity is low; officers or judges do not favor high fines; there is a high rate of guilty convictions; and community service requirements are considered effective in sentencing.

“Enforcing litter laws is crucial to changing behaviors that create litter,” Sarah Lyles, Executive Director of PalmettoPride said, “but those laws need to be enforceable from ticketing to adjudication. This study helps to support and identify what is most effective from a law enforcement and judicial perspective.”

The Litter Law Studies in each state are part of larger initiatives dealing with litter prevention. Pennsylvania released Governor Wolf’s Litter Action Plan in 2021. The goal of Pennsylvania’s Litter Action Plan is to prevent littering through the development and implementation of a research-based plan of recommended actions that can be used statewide to change littering behavior over time.

PalmettoPride, South Carolina’s anti-litter organization, will release a litter study in 2023.

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This study was funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. To read the comprehensive report, visit and choose research.

For more information, please contact Shannon Reiter at