Litter Law and Legal Definition

Littering is knowingly depositing in any manner litter on any public or private property or in any public or private waters, without permission to do so. Litter is trash improperly placed so as to be a nuisance or health concern. Laws regulating litter are primarily state and local laws, which vary by state and locality. Punishment for littering is usually a fine, but jail terms may be imposed for more serious littering offenses.

Under some laws, items found in an accumulation of garbage, trash, or other discarded material including, but not limited to, bank statements, utility bills, bank card bills, and other financial documents, clearly bearing the name of a person shall constitute a rebuttable presumption that the person whose name appears thereon knowingly deposited the litter. Advertising, marketing, and campaign materials and literature is not usually sufficient to constitute a rebuttable presumption of criminal littering.

The following is an example of a local law dealing with litter:

"Litter - any solid or liquid material or product or combination of solid or liquid materials or products, including, but not limited to:

  1. any rubbish, refuse, garbage, paper, package, container, bottle, can, manure, or sewage or the whole or a part of an animal carcass or
  2. the whole or part of any article, raw or processed material, Motor Vehicle or other machinery, that is disposed of; or
  3. any other material or product that is designated as litter in the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, as amended and the Regulations thereunder."