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Ohio's Litter Laws
Ohio's Litter Laws

What is Litter?

Under Ohio law, litter is any trash thrown, discarded or dropped by a person onto public property, private property not owned by the individual, or into Ohio's waterways. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits littering, regardless of whether or not it was intentional.

There are many kinds of littering offenses; the following is a brief overview of Ohio’s littering laws.

Prohibits Polluting of State Land or Water (ORC 1531.29)

No person shall place or dispose of in any manner, any garbage, waste, peelings of vegetables or fruits, rubbish, ashes, cans, bottles, wire, paper, cartons, boxes, parts of automobiles, wagons, furniture, glass, oil, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature on any state owned, controlled, or administered land, or in any ditch, stream, river, lake, pond, or other watercourse, except those waters which do not combine or effect a junction with natural surface or underground waters, or upon the bank thereof where the same is liable to be washed into the water either by ordinary flow or floods. This section does not apply to any substance placed under authority of a permit issued under section 6111.04 of the Revised Code or exempted by such section from its terms.

Littering Prohibited from Vessels (ORC 1547.49)

(A) As used in this section, "litter" means garbage, trash, waste, rubbish, ashes, cans, bottles, wire, paper, cartons, vessel parts, vehicle parts, furniture, glass, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature.

(B) No operator or occupant of a vessel shall, regardless of intent, throw, drop, discard, or deposit litter from any vessel in operation or control upon or in any waters in this state, except into a litter receptacle in a manner that prevents its being carried away or deposited by the elements.

(C) No operator of a vessel in operation upon any waters in this state shall allow litter to be thrown, dropped, discarded, or deposited from the vessel, except into a litter receptacle in a manner that prevents its being carried away or deposited by the elements.

Littering and Illegal Dumping (ORC 3767.32)

(A) No person, regardless of intent, shall deposit litter or cause litter to be deposited on any public property, on private property not owned by the person, or in or on waters of the state unless one of the following applies:

(A-1) The person is directed to do so by a public official as part of a litter collection drive;

(A-2) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the person deposits the litter in a litter receptacle in a manner that prevents its being carried away by the elements;

(A-3) The person is issued a permit or license covering the litter pursuant to Chapter 3734. or 6111. of the Revised Code.

(B) No person, without privilege to do so, shall knowingly deposit litter, or cause it to be deposited, in a litter receptacle located on any public property or on any private property not owned by the person unless one of the following applies:

(B-1) The litter was generated or located on the property on which the litter receptacle is located;

(B-2) The person is directed to do so by a public official as part of a litter collection drive;

(B-3) The person is directed to do so by a person whom the person reasonably believes to have the privilege to use the litter receptacle;

(B-4) The litter consists of any of the following:

(B-4-A) The contents of a litter bag or container of a type and size customarily carried and used in a motor vehicle;

(B-4-B) The contents of an ash tray of a type customarily installed or carried and used in a motor vehicle;

(B-4-C) Beverage containers and food sacks, wrappings, and containers of a type and in an amount that reasonably may be expected to be generated during routine commuting or business or recreational travel by a motor vehicle;

(B-4-D) Beverage containers, food sacks, wrappings, containers, and other materials of a type and in an amount that reasonably may be expected to be generated during a routine day by a person and deposited in a litter receptacle by a casual passerby.

(C-1) As used in division (B)(1) of this section, "public property" includes any private property open to the public for the conduct of business, the provision of a service, or upon the payment of a fee, but does not include any private property to which the public otherwise does not have a right of access.

(C-2) As used in division (B)(4) of this section, "casual passerby" means a person who does not have depositing litter in a litter receptacle as the person's primary reason for traveling to or by the property on which the litter receptacle is located.

(D) As used in this section:

(D-1) "Litter" means garbage, trash, waste, rubbish, ashes, cans, bottles, wire, paper, cartons, boxes, automobile parts, furniture, glass, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature.

(D-2) "Deposit" means to throw, drop, discard, or place.

(D-3) "Litter receptacle" means a dumpster, trash can, trash bin, garbage can, or similar container in which litter is deposited for removal.

(E) This section may be enforced by any sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer of a municipal corporation, police constable or officer of a township, or township or joint police district, wildlife officer, park officer, forest officer, preserve officer, conservancy district police officer, inspector of nuisances of a county, or any other law enforcement officer within the law enforcement officer's jurisdiction.

Littering from a Motor Vehicle (ORC 4511.82)

(A) No operator or occupant of a motor vehicle shall, regardless of intent, throw, drop, discard, or deposit litter from any motor vehicle in operation upon any street, road, or highway, except into a litter receptacle in a manner that prevents its being carried away or deposited by the elements.

(B) No operator of a motor vehicle in operation upon any street, road, or highway shall allow litter to be thrown, dropped, discarded, or deposited from the motor vehicle, except into a litter receptacle in a manner that prevents its being carried away or deposited by the elements.

(C) Whoever violates division (A) or (B) of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(D) As used in this section, "litter" means garbage, trash, waste, rubbish, ashes, cans, bottles, wire, paper, cartons, boxes, automobile parts, furniture, glass, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature.

Securing Loads on Vehicles (ORC 4513.31)

(A) No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed, loaded, or covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom, except that sand or other substance may be dropped for the purpose of securing traction, or water or other substance may be sprinkled on a roadway in cleaning or maintaining the roadway.

(B) Except for a farm vehicle used to transport agricultural produce or agricultural production materials or a rubbish vehicle in the process of acquiring its load, no vehicle loaded with garbage, swill, cans, bottles, waste paper, ashes, refuse, trash, rubbish, waste, wire, paper, cartons, boxes, glass, solid waste, or any other material of an unsanitary nature that is susceptible to blowing or bouncing from a moving vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the load is covered with a sufficient cover to prevent the load or any part of the load from spilling onto the highway.

(C) Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in section 4513.99 of the Revised Code.




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