Spring cleaning? Public land is not a trash can

Michigan DNR

Spring is a popular time to declutter, clean and organize. Unfortunately, many people discard items they no longer need — and their trash — on state-managed land, along the road or even on another person’s private property. Dumping old mattresses, tires or televisions or throwing your bag of fast food out the window while driving is illegal — and something DNR conservation officers take very seriously.

“Spring is always a really busy time for conservation officers receiving complaints about illegal dumping,” said Lt. Gerald Thayer, the DNR’s district law supervisor in Plainwell. “People don’t want to pay to get rid of their old belongings or garbage pickup, and think they’ll get away with leaving it in a rural area. There are all kinds of ways conservation officers can track garbage — whether it’s a piece of mail, a receipt or a barcode.”

You can dispose of unwanted items and trash at your local landfill or trash and recycling drop-off center. When hiring a waste hauler, ask for landfill receipts to ensure trash is being disposed of responsibly. If you come across discarded items or garbage on state-managed public land, immediately call or text the Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800.


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