By WRCB Staff

NASHVILLE (WRCB) -- As part of the effort to StopLitter in Tennessee, Governor Phil Bredesen and TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely awards over $3 million dollars in litter grant funds to all 95 counties in Tennessee.

"Each year volunteers pick up almost 25 million pounds of roadside litter in Tennessee alone," said Bredesen. "Litter is an eye-sore, it's costly to clean up and it can be harmful to our environment, but it's totally preventable. These funds will be used by counties across the state to organize their pick-up efforts and conduct educational campaigns to teach children and adults about the importance of keeping Tennessee beautiful."

Litter grant funds are distributed annually by TDOT to all Tennessee counties for litter clean up and education.

"TDOT awards approximately $3 million each year to help local communities in their efforts to stop litter in Tennessee," said Nicely. "These funds are obtained through the collection of a specialty tax on the malt beverage and soft drink industry through the Litter Grant Bill which was enacted by the General Assembly in 1981 and are put to use by local communities to prevent litter through education and clean-up activities."

The funds that each county receives are determined by county road miles and county population in order to ensure an equitable distribution statewide. Funds must be used for litter pick-up activities and litter prevention education. Education funding can be used in a variety of ways, such as sharing litter control awareness with schools, citizens and businesses.

Through the litter pick-up program, approximately 25.5 million pounds of roadside litter were picked up on approximately 292,000 miles of county roads, and approximately 45,000 miles of state routes. Of the trash collected by volunteers, approximately 7.4 million pounds is recycled.

Click here to find out more about Tennessee's Litter Grant program.