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'We can all do a little bit': New campaign, study aim to tackle litter in Circle City

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 19:26:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS —Throw it out on the ground - or throw it in a trash can? We all know what the answer should be, but when you see the bottles, gloves and even couches along city streets, the path of the trash can is not always picked.

“This is kind of a new chapter in Indianapolis,” Lindsay Trameri, Public Information Officer for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works Office of Sustainability, said.

A new chapter when it comes to tackling litter in the Circle City. Trameri said she sees the bottles, cans and now PPE around the city — including near her downtown home.

“Sometimes [littering] comes in waves. I definitely see it,” Trameri said.

Since 2019, Trameri said the City’s Pathway to Employment Program removed more than 100 tons of litter from city streets, and more than 5,700 tons of debris was removed since the re-launch of the city’s street sweeping program in the summer of 2019.

Now a study is looking to figure out how to stop litter — both pedestrian littering and illegal dumping — before it ends up in city streets and alleyways. The 'A Little Love Stops Litter' campaign was also launched.

Indianapolis’ Sustainability Office and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful partnered with behavior scientists to find places where choices to litter or not are made and put something like a sign or messaging up and see if that changes behaviors.

“We’re actually collecting data around litter in those places before that sign…and then afterwards, as well,” Kristina Uland with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful said.

Trial interventions include signs at IndyGo bus stops, mailers and a digital marketing campaign.

“We’re hoping to find out what messages really resonate with people when it comes to that key decision point of either littering or not littering,” Uland said.

The first of four trials began in June and go through July. Another two trials will take place in 2022 with results expected by the end of next year.

“We can all do a little bit and that’s what this is all about,” Trameri said.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works, Office of Sustainability offers these tips to residents: