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County residents dump an average of 50,000 lbs. of trash a year on our local county roads.   

Starting in July of 1998, with grant monies from the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Whatcom County Solid Waste Division has taken part in a program to help clean up litter from our trails and county roads.  The Public Works Department already had a volunteer Adopt-A-Road program in place, and with the help of the Juvenile Youth Diversion Program, all of our roads are now systematically cleaned on a rotating basis.


Juvenile offenders can opt to work off part of their sentence by picking up litter on weekends from county roadways and illegal dumpsites.  Anywhere from one to 7 or 8 youths make up a litter crew, along with one or two supervisors.

Adopt-A-Road volunteers can be anyone from neighborhoods to church or employee groups, scout troops, or anyone who wants to pick up litter in a specific area.


In addition, community groups in Birch Bay, Pt. Roberts, Marietta and other areas have biannual clean up events, all with time donated by volunteers.

Since the combined program began, tons of litter have been picked up:

July 1998 – December 2007

  • 814,907 pounds of litter picked up
  • 4,745 miles of road coveredandy otter
  • 23,777 crew hours donated

Click here to view statistics on litter removed by road crews.

"You Otter Not Litter!"

Another component of the litter clean up program is education.  Because one of our local “critters” lives in many of Whatcom County’s local waterways and can become extremely ill or eventually die from litter thrown into its habitat, Solid Waste staff was inspired to adopt the otter to help educate local children about litter.


Andy Otter can always be found at local community events such as the Northwest Washington Fair and the Home & Garden Show, talking with folks and handing out anti-litter information.

Litter and it will hurt

As part of a statewide effort to keep trash off our highways, a “Litter and it will hurt” campaign is in full swing.  Local citizens can report violators to the Washington State Patrol and they will be sent a warning letter, informing them of the fines for littering.

You can visit the homepage for the campaign here.

Examples of fines:

$95 – fast food bag

$171 – uncovered load

$950 – tossing a lit cigarette

$1,000 and up plus jail time - illegal dumping

For more information on any of these programs, call 360-676-7695.  And remember,

You Otter Not Litter!