Under Ohio law, litter is any trash thrown, discarded or dropped by a person onto public property, private property not owned by the individual, or into Ohio's waterways. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits littering, regardless of whether or not it was intentional. Numerous laws prohibit littering and illegal dumping.
Littering is a serious offense, punishable by fines of up to $500 and 60 days in jail. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is committed to keeping Ohio clean and beautiful.
There are many kinds of littering offenses; the following is a brief overview of Ohio's major litter laws.
Littering and Illegal Dumping
Dumping waste, such as discarded trash, oil, appliances, scrap tires, furniture and other items, on private or public land and waterways is strictly prohibited by Ohio law. In addition to being unsightly, illegal dumps can pose health and safety hazards to people and wildlife. Ohioans must use licensed disposal facilities and insist that contracted waste haulers dispose of trash safely and legally.
ORC 3767.32 also prohibits unauthorized persons from knowingly placing litter and household wastes in a private litter/trash receptacle, unless he or she has authorization to use the litter/trash receptacle or the waste materials were generated on the public property where the receptacle is located. This protects property owners from having to pay for wastes illegally dumped into their litter/trash receptacles.
Littering from a Motor Vehicle
Littering from a motor vehicle can result in fines of up to $100, depending upon the seriousness of the offense. For casual littering from motor vehicles, law enforcement officers can issue tickets, just as they do for other traffic violations. The driver of a motor vehicle can also be held responsible for litter discarded onto the roadway by passengers.
Littering from a Watercraft Vessel
This law is similar to littering from a motor vehicle law. No operator or occupant of a vessel, regardless of intent, may discard or deposit litter in any Ohio waters. The operator of a watercraft vessel can also be held responsible for allowing litter to be dropped out of the vessel.
This law requires vehicles transporting materials that could escape, leak or drop be designed to remain inside the vehicle at all times. In addition, vehicles loaded with garbage, solid waste or other unsanitary materials that are susceptible to blowing or bouncing out, cannot be driven unless their contents are sufficiently covered. Law enforcement officers do not have to witness the material falling from a vehicle in order to make an arrest. Exceptions to this law include farm vehicles transporting agricultural products and trash vehicles in the process of acquiring their loads.
IDEA: Illegal Dumping Economic Assessment
The Illegal Dumping Economic Assessment (IDEA) model was developed by the U.S. EPA, Region 5, to provide community leaders with a tool for assessing and measuring costs of illegal dumping activities. Use of the model can be a first step in quantifying such costs, thereby supporting cost management and policy-making decisions associated with illegal dumping prevention programs.
The IDEA model is easy to use and comes with a user's guide and provides general instructions and helpful tips for using the model to assess illegal dump site costs.
For more information, go to the U.S. EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/region5/illegaldumping/
Information from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention