Think Before You Throw! Trash a Growing Problem on State, Local Roadsides

Think Before You Throw! Trash a Growing Problem on State, Local Roadsides

With the arrival of spring, the Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for crews picking up litter and asking the public to do its part by properly disposing trash and saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year in unnecessary costs.

“While IDOT is committed to maintaining a positive impression of Illinois by having our maintenance teams collect litter from our roadsides, we need your help,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “If the warmer temperatures make you tempted to toss that food wrapper or pop can out your car window, please don’t. Trash is more than just an eyesore. It has real, negative impacts on both the environment and our communities.”

If you encounter maintenance vehicles and workers in litter pickup operations, slow down, move over and give them space – it’s the law.

For people and organizations that want to help locally, Kane County has a great Adopt-A-Highway program. Scroll down for more information or visit this page of the Kane County Division of Transportation website.

Other litter facts:

Last year, IDOT spent approximately $6.1 million on litter pickup, the equivalent of resurfacing 30 miles of road or purchasing 40 new maintenance trucks that also plow snow in winter.

Items tossed onto the road cause distractions, crashes and even hurt people. They also put workers who have to pick them up later at risk.

  • Littering is illegal, subject to a fine of up to $1,500. If convicted of littering on a highway, the violator may, in addition to other penalties, be required to maintain litter control for 30 days over a portion of that highway as well.
  • Litter kills plants and animals.
  • It’s unsightly – no one likes to live where there’s litter.
  • Littering is a problem that’s easily controlled. Use a trash can instead.
  • Remember: Think before you throw!

After limiting activities in 2020 due to COVID-19, IDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program is resuming normal operations. The program partners IDOT with volunteer groups to help keep the state’s non-interstate roadsides clean. Anyone can apply by completing an online application found on the IDOT website and “adopting” a two-mile section of highway.

Please email or call (217) 557-3224 if you have any questions or wish to join the 10,000 volunteers currently involved in the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Kane County’s Adopt-a-Highway Program

The Kane County Adopt-A-Highway program allows citizens to support anti-litter efforts by signing up volunteer groups to adopt a section of County Highway for the purpose of litter collection for a minimum of two years.

Watch for Kane County Adopt-A-Highway signs as seen on this page and you can adopt from one half mile up to two miles of county maintained roadway.

5 Steps to Submitting an Application

1.  Adopt-a-Highway Map (See above)

  • Choose a route that is not highlighted in Blue or Green
  • County Highways not adopted are in RED

2.  Adopt-a-Highway Member Listing

Check the lists, sorted by road name, alphabetical order, showing the route in use.

You can also see what activity has been logged in for members.

If you see your group has not done the required clean up dates per your agreement, please contact us before expiration of permit.

3.  Adopt-a-Highway Ordinance

  • A must read…

4.  Adopt-a-Highway A​pplication – All 4 Lane Highways must be 1 side route choice

  • Use the email button provided to send the application to Mary Anne Hoye
  • Application submittal: A. Send by email, B. Print and fax or C. Copy/paste to a Word Document and send to
  • Any problems getting your application to us please call 630-584-1171

5.  Watch the safety video on this page

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release, KDOT website