Just a few hours can make a huge difference.

By Melissa Locker
September 8, 2019
wellesenterprises/Getty Images

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is looking for a few good men, women, and children who want to help keep the Tar Heel State looking good.

Litter isn’t something that most of us spend much time thinking about. It’s hard to ignore it, though, when discarded plastic water bottles, Chick-Fil-A bags, Bojangles lemonade cups, and straw wrappers line the highway, blowing in the breeze created when cars zip by. According to anti-litter group Keep America Beautiful, roadways are 40% more likely to be littered on than residential streets and if those roads are near convenience stores or other commercial establishments, they are even more likely to be covered in trash. The cost of cleaning up all that trash left behind by lazy humans is monumental, with a price tag of $11.5 billion in annual litter clean-up and prevention. Litter has other costs, too, including reducing property values. Can you imagine your home losing value because someone couldn’t stick their trash in a bin?

Now, North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is looking for some volunteers willing to do something about litter. Each spring and fall, the state agency puts out a call for volunteers to help clean up trash along roads during the Adopt-A-Highway Fall Litter Sweep, which this year runs from September 14-October 1. Volunteer groups from churches, local businesses, schools, non-profits, and community groups can sign up to help clean up the streets and keep North Carolina’s roads clean. Volunteers are provided with clean-up supplies such as reversible orange and blue trash bags, gloves and safety vests from local NCDOT County Maintenance Yard offices. According to the agency’s Facebook page, last year's fall campaign, resulted in nearly 850,000 pounds of litter being removed from roads and highways with 34,000 pounds of that headed to the recycling plant.

“Just a few hours of volunteering to clean up our roadsides can make a huge difference,” David Harris, State Roadside Environmental engineer, said in an announcement. “It’s a fun opportunity to get outdoors with family and friends while helping make sure North Carolina remains a beautiful place to live and work.”

Of course, you don’t have to live in North Carolina to clean up your town’s streets. Look for a local group already doing the hard work or start your own litter patrol to keep your town looking good. While cleaning litter up on the side of the road may not be the most glamorous way to spend an afternoon, but it’s a good way to give back to your community and making sure the only thing on the streets this fall is autumn leaves, carved pumpkins, and trick or treaters.

WATCH: 10 Walkable Girlfriend Getaways

Visit the Litter Sweep web page for more information. How about calling the girls to organize a brunch and volunteer day? Sounds like a solid plan to us. 

Advertisement