Unsecured loads are unsafe!
Litter is all-hands-on-deck for the state because it’s not just an eyesore – it can be a distraction and hazard. Data shows that every year in Washington, debris from unsecured loads causes more than 300 traffic crashes and 30 injuries. In 2022, that toll included five deaths attributed to large debris falling from unsecured loads.
“We acknowledge that roadside litter is not just unsightly but also poses serious safety concerns to travelers – including roadside workers and people who walk, bike and roll,” said Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar. “That is why we stand arm-in-arm with our partners at Ecology and the Washington State Patrol in litter prevention and ongoing cleanup efforts, but the simple truth is there is more litter than we can collect. We ask everyone to help keep litter off our roadways and rights of way and secure their loads on every trip – even just across town.”
Next steps on litter
This month, Ecology, WSDOT, the State Patrol and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission plan to expand the state’s We Keep WA Litter Free prevention campaign. To kick off the campaign, Ecology hosted a media event on Sept. 7, partnering with Seattle professional hockey player Yanni Gourde. Gourde is also using his social media presence to show how everyone can be a part of the solution to littering and raise awareness with fans, including through a social media contest in late August where five fans won a signed hockey puck and a chance to meet him at the media event. Additionally, Ecology is running statewide advertising in English and Spanish and distributing a Litter Prevention Toolkit to allied government agencies, jurisdictions and nonprofit organizations to help support the campaign.
Preventing litter, one litter bag at a time
Ecology’s research identified “not having a trash bag in the car” as one of the top reasons people litter. To address that need, the We Keep WA Litter Free campaign is giving away free, reusable car litter bags at grocery stores throughout the state as part of a partnership with Washington Food Industry Association and food distributor URM. See participating stores on a map or in a list sorted by city.