Litter on state highways

Dealing with litter is a costly issue on Washington roads. We address it through litter collection programs and the Adopt-a-Highway program. Littering is illegal under Washington state law.

The problem with litter

During a two-year period, WSDOT disposed of 6,075 tons of litter and debris from roadsides across the state. The Department of Ecology estimates another 4,400 tons were collected on state and county roads during this time.

Cost of litter control for state highways

WSDOT spends more than $3 million annually to pick up and dispose of litter statewide. This includes:

  • Pick up and disposal of litter bags.
  • Pick up and disposal of large debris, such as furniture, tires and dead animals.
  • Payments to the Department of Corrections crews for litter pick up.
  • Administration of the Adopt-a-Highway program.

The Washington State Patrol issues fines to people who litter.

Washington State laws on litter issues

The following sections of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) address litter on state highways:

  • RCW 70.93 Waste Reduction, recycling, and model litter control act.
  • RCW 47.40.100 State Adopt-A-Highway program.

8,683 animals crossed the Snoqualmie Pass East Project area

as recorded by WSDOT and partners in 2020 and 2021.

46% increase in Amtrak Cascades ridership to 251,000 passengers

in 2021 compared to 172,000 in 2020.

Nine wetland and stream mitigation sites across 32.7 acres added

to our monitoring program in 2021 to help offset climate change impacts.