After a two-year long study, IDEAS researchers have found that if one wants to reduce their carbon footprint and their waste output, they simply have to drop whatever waste they have on the ground. This breakthrough could mean a whole lot in the face of America’s growing waste problem.

“This is a truly remarkable finding,” said researcher Tyler Langdon. “For two years we studied subjects who other people had previously referred to as “litterbugs,” and almost all subjects had 0 trash output.” According to the EPA, Americans produce about 4.38 pounds of waste per day. “Those in the study had reduced their output,” Landon added, citing that the study found the garbage that was littered was found to be “not their problem.”


IDEAS leaders teaching children how to properly sort waste before littering.

Along with preventing waste from piling up in landfills, the study found that those who littered were also fighting climate change and urban smog issues. “I mostly litter because I have asthma, and I can’t have the city garbage trucks idling in front of my house,” stated Arthur McKinley, who had been a participant in the study since 2012. “I feel like I’m doing my part for the environment. It also prevents the trucks from making worse potholes on my road. That makes the street look and drive terrible.”

Many tons of trash gets wastefully put into landfills each year.

The study projects that in the year 2015 littering will prevent 206,634 tons of waste from entering landfills, which is equivalent to 576,509 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. “It’s a really simple practice that we must try to encourage individuals to take to help protect the planet,” noted IDEAS Executive Director Clayton Ferrara, before stepping on a plane to present the study to a roundtable of BP executives.

Jacob Robison