HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It costs $0 to place garbage in a trash can, but the price to pay for littering is about to double in Virginia beginning July 1.
The minimum fine for littering will be increasing from $250 to $500, and is defined as “dumping or disposing of litter, trash, or other unsightly matter on public or private property.”
Del. James E. Edmunds (R-Halifax) said he introduced the amendment to “create more of a buzz around littering in Virginia and let people know we are not tolerating it anymore.”
“We can do better,” Edmunds said. “It screams of disrespect and it is not good for economic development.”
The current law has a maximum fine of $2,500 and the potential for a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
Despite the threat of monetary penalty, 18 people were fined in 2019 for littering and only six people were fined in 2020 in Henrico County.
In Chesterfield County, 2019 saw 11 arrests for trash dumping and four arrests in 2020.
During the pandemic mask mandate in Virginia, poor disposal of PPE caused even more litter across the state.
“The pandemic has changed a lot of things — but litter,” Mike Baum, the Executive Director of Keep Virginia Beautiful, said in August 2020. “Unfortunately, it is even more apparent than it ever has been. People are seeing these more and more out there right now, but it’s a problem that just gets added to all the other litter.”
Edmunds said he hopes this new change will help make people think twice before they throw trash on the ground.