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Trashy Behavior: 19% of Illinoisans admit to illegal dumping, finds survey.


  • Food waste is the most common item to be dumped.
  • Over half would report a neighbor for illegal dumping.
  • Interactive map included.

Illegal dumping: we’ve all seen it, whether we’re strolling down the sidewalk or driving down the highway. The sight of abandoned furniture, old mattresses, and washing machines just waiting to become someone else’s problem. But while we can all agree it’s a blight on our hometowns and green spaces, how many of us are actually guilty of doing it ourselves?

According to a recent survey of 3,000 (anonymous) respondents by, a shocking 19% of Illinoisans have done just this – left their old, no-longer-useful possessions somewhere, rather than taking the proper and correct course of action.

So who are the biggest culprits? Well, according to, it’s the folks from the ironically named TreasureState who take the top spot, with a whopping 38% of Montanans admitting to illegal dumping at some point. It’s a problem that needs to be tackled before the state’s natural treasures are lost in a sea of discarded junk.

The most community conscious are those from Colorado, where only 4% admit to having illegally dumped. The state places a strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-consciousness, with many Coloradans actively seeking out ways to reduce their environmental impact. Or maybe it’s all that fresh mountain air that’s keeping them level-headed and conscientious…

Interactive map showing illegal dumping across the states

But what are the most common items to be dumped? Well, according to, it’s food waste at 57%. This was followed by old mattresses (17%); TVs (8%, perhaps unsurprisingly, given the rate at which TV technology improves); computers (6%); furniture, washing machines and fridge/freezers (all 4%).

Zachary Smith, owner of says: “Illegally dumped trash is a haven for all kinds of unwanted pests and vermin. Rats, mice, and cockroaches are some of the most common pests that are drawn to illegally dumped trash. These pests can breed and multiply quickly in the piles of garbage, leading to an infestation that can quickly spread to neighboring areas. Flies and other insects are also attracted to the rotting food and waste, which can cause not only a nuisance but also health hazards“.

When it comes to getting rid of unwanted items, 81% of us are taking the semi-honorable route by tossing it in someone else’s dumpster. Nine percent think it’s perfectly acceptable to litter the sidewalk with their trash. Then we have the 4% who treat roads and highways as their personal dumping grounds. And if you happen to take a refreshing dip in a local river or lake, you might want to keep an eye out for the 4% who have no qualms about turning it into their own personal landfill. And finally, there are the daring 2% who sneak into parking lots to unload their unwanted junk.

Finally, over half (58%) said they would (quite rightly) report a neighbor for illegal dumping.

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