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Florida Health Healthiest Weight Cleans Up - Graphic of figure throwing away trash.

Florida Health Cleans Up!

A project to increase physical activity and contribute to healthier, litter-free environments

In April 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation launched a new roadside litter prevention education media campaign built around the theme “Drive It Home… Keep Our Paradise Litter-Free℠”.

According to State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health, Dr. John Armstrong, “this [litter prevention] effort not only emphasizes the importance of clean spaces for safe driving, it highlights the opportunity we all have to reduce roadside trash by making healthier choices.”

To show the department’s support for initiatives like Drive it Home℠, each county office and the state office are asked to create volunteer teams to participate in an adopt-a-roadway, or other recurring outdoor cleanup initiative.

Litter leaves a trail of negative footprints…

  • Every year, millions of visitors get their first glimpse of our state from their car windows as they travel along Florida’s highways.
  • We all end up paying to clean up Florida’s highways, parks and waterways.
  • Local governments spend thousands to keep litter off miles of locally-maintained roads.
  • A poll conducted by the University of Florida revealed that the top three items littered consisted of paper (22%), cigarette butts (18%), and fast food waste (6%).
  • Litter collects in and around areas such as parking lots, vacant lots, loading docks, dumpsters, construction sites, residential neighborhoods, streets, shorelines, and roadsides.
  • Key reasons why people litter include: They feel no sense of ownership; they believe someone else will pick up after them; litter has already accumulated; and littering is convenient.

The Florida Department of Health recognizes the importance of keeping our state litter free. Several local health departments already participate in organized clean-up events. In response to the Department of Transportation’s new educational campaign, the Department of Health is forming many more clean-up teams around the state. Our goal is to encourage physical activity and walking, while emphasizing how small choices affect our health and environment.

Steps You Can Take NOW:

  • Set an example and dispose of trash in proper receptacles;
  • Carry a litter bag in your car;
  • Never throw anything out of the car window;
  • Ensure that trash receptacles are properly covered when placed outside for garbage collection;
  • Secure your load when you carry trash or loose items on top of your vehicle; and
  • Advocate small changes, such as picking up one piece of litter a day.

People with shirts that say Healthiest Weight and equipment to pick up trach (bags and trash pickers)

Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not for profit organizations, businesses, and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make choices about healthy eating and active living.