CLEAN WATER TIPS

YOUR RIVER. YOUR IMPACT.

One person CAN make a difference.

Take one step today to reduce your household use of plastics. Then another next month. And then another.

What are you doing to reduce plastics in your home?

When plastic does make it into the waterways it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as “microplastics” rather than biodegrading or dissolving, which poses great threats to marine life including fish.

 

It is projected that by 2050, 99% of all sea bird species will have ingested plastic. Mortality rate can be “up to” 50%. And, already, research has shown plastic in sea salt, 94% of U.S. tap water, and shellfish.

 

Scientists at the the UGA New Materials Institute conducted a new study which discovered microplastics particles smaller than dust or powdered sugar inside baby sea turtles. Of the turtles studies in this research, 100% were found to have eaten plastic. These baby sea turtles were likely dying due to ingested plastic pollution, which threatens the species’ survival.

Did you know that of the 30 million tons of plastic waste generated in the US in 2009, only 7 percent was recovered for recycling?

Here are 17 ways to reduce your plastic waste:

  1.  Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw

  2. Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often! 

  3. Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic. 

  4. Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.

  5. Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging. 

  6. Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.

  7. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop

  8. Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam. 

  9. Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter. 

  10. Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you'll be eating fewer processed foods! 

  11. Don't use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.

  12. Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.

  13. The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby's carbon footprint and save money. 

  14. Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It's healthier and better for the environment.

  15. Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.

  16. Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.

  17. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor

 

Informational website:

http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html

 

WHAT IS LITTER?

Litter is defined by Tennessee law as perishable animal and vegetable waste, garbage, perishable and nonperishable solid waste and tobacco products.

TENNESSEE LITTER LAWS

Section 39-14-503. (a) Mitigated criminal littering is littering in an amount less than or equal to five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume. 

  • criminal littering is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00)

Section 39-14-504. (a) Criminal littering is littering in an amount more than five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume and less than or equal to ten pounds (10 Ibs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume.

  • littering is a Class B misdemeanor, up to a $500 fine

  • In addition to the penalties established in this section, the court shall require a person convicted under this part to remove litter from the state or local highway system, public playgrounds, public parks or other appropriate public locations for not more than eighty (80) hours. The court, in its discretion, may also a person convicted under this section to work in a recycling center or other appropriate location for any stated period of time not to exceed eight (8) hours.

Section 39-14-505. (a) Aggravated criminal littering is littering:

  • In an amount exceeding ten pounds (10 lbs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume; or

  • In any amount for any commercial purpose

  •  Aggravated criminal littering is a Class A misdemeanor, except in the following circumstances, in which case it is a Class E felony, up to a $1,500 fine.

 

Tennessee Toll-Free Litter Hotline
1-877-8-LITTER PROVIDES MOTORISTS A WAY TO REPORT LITTER BUGS

Tennesseans who are tired of trash along state roadways now have a new tool to report litter bugs. The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced today a new toll-free litter hotline, 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). The litter hotline is part of the new statewide anti-litter campaign, StopLitter™. The hotline provides a way for Tennesseans to report people they witness littering along the state’s roadways, such as a person throwing a paper cup or cigarette butt out of a window, or an item falling from an unsecured load.

“The new toll-free litter hotline gives citizens the ability to Stop It,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Now anyone who witnesses a person littering can report it and trigger action to improve the quality of the environment and the cleanliness of our roadways. Tennessee has some of the best roads in the nation. With everyone’s help, we can have some of the cleanest, too.”

Citizens who witness a litter bug in action can call 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). Callers will reach a recording that asks them to provide information about the vehicle. The information that will be requested includes:

  • license plate number (Tennessee plates only)

  • type and make of the vehicle

  • day and time the incident occurred

  • location where the incident occurred

  • the type of item tossed or blown from the vehicle

TDOT will mail a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle along with a StopLitter™ car trash bag or portable ashtray and other anti-litter information. The letter is a gentle reprimand reminding the recipient that littering is against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $1500.

 

Click here for more information.

Click here for a complete list of the TN Litter Laws

Charlene DeSha
Executive Director
P.O. Box 6550
Maryville, TN 37802
 
 

© 2016 by Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers