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Fighting Litter in Your Neighborhood

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Very Long (1+ months)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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Is there a public park, playground, or beach near you that suffers from a litter problem? Here is a way that you can do something about it! First, get a measure of the size of the problem by conducting a litter survey. Select a fraction of the area to survey at regular intervals (e.g., every two or three days, or maybe once a week). The area should be large enough so that you can get a representative sample of litter, but not so large that you can't clean it up. Each time you conduct your survey, collect all of the litter within your sample area. Count or weigh each type of litter, and keep track of your results in your lab notebook. Which is the most common type of litter? Have your parents, your teacher, and local community groups help to publicize your results. For example, you could post signs on the trash containers listing how much litter the park gets per week, reminding people to clean up after themselves. See if your local Parks Department can help. Maybe they can organize a cleanup day with help from your community. Does the park stay cleaner after your efforts? (Idea from Cannon, 2005)


Cannon, K.B., 2005. "What Is the Most Commonly Found Litter on the Beach?" California State Science Fair Abstract [accessed June 20, 2006] http://cssf.usc.edu/History/2005/Projects/S0802.pdf.
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Global Connections

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
This project explores topics key to Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.


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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Fighting Litter in Your Neighborhood." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/EnvEng_p020/environmental-engineering/fighting-litter-in-your-neighborhood. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Fighting Litter in Your Neighborhood. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/EnvEng_p020/environmental-engineering/fighting-litter-in-your-neighborhood

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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