Never Do This in Illinois Unless You Want To Pay $1500 Penalty
Growing up in the 1970s there was a television commercial with a Native American character who is rowing through a lake of garbage and sheds a tear because of the pollution in America.
'Crying Indian' wasn't actually a Native American
Seeing this as a 5-year-old kid, it was an impactful message on how we need to care for our world that is still memorable to me all these years later, even as I watch it now and realize there are some uncomfortable stereotypes.
And it turns out the actor in the commercial wasn't as authentic as I thought, according to a story from Snopes.
In the public service announcement for Keep America Beautiful that ran during the 70s and 80s, one of the scenes shows a motorist throwing garbage out of their window onto the side of the road.
If you did that today and got caught for littering, expect to pay a fine that's about the equivalent of what a really nice used car would cost back in the 1970s.
IDOT begins 'Think Before You Throw' Campaign
According to a press release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, over $26 million dollars was spent on our 150,000 miles of roads just to pick up litter and remove large debris in 2022.
What else could that $26 million be used for, other than picking up after us lazy slobs?
That’s the equivalent of buying 143 maintenance trucks that also plow snow in winter or purchasing all of the salt IDOT spread during the past snow-and-ice season, with $1 million left to spare. It also could pay to resurface 13 miles of interstate.
Can you be arrested if you're caught littering?
It's illegal to litter in Illinois, and while there's no jail time for basic littering, the fine could be up to $1500. However, if you're hauling a load that isn't properly tied down and the cargo becomes loose and causes an accident, the penalty could obviously be worse than just a financial penalty.
More "litter facts" courtesy of the Illinois Department of Transportation
Roadside litter causes distractions that can lead to dangerous crashes. It also requires maintenance operations that put workers in potentially hazardous situations.
Litter kills plants and animals. And it is unsightly. No one likes litter in their community.
Littering is illegal and subject to a fine of up to $1,500 in Illinois. In addition to other penalties, violators may be required to maintain litter control over a portion of highway for 30 days. (415 ILCS 105/5)
Loads must be tarped and secured, with permits required for certain cargo. Violators can face penalties that include a fine up to $250 in Illinois. (625 ILCS 5/15-109)
If you have household cleaning products or other hazardous wastes, CLICK HERE to see one of the upcoming special collection events from the Illinois EPA.