With the Great Islands Clean-up fast approaching on Saturday, April 23, 2022, San Juan County will be launching a 6-week campaign, Secure Your Load for Safer Roads, that will focus on educating islanders and visitors on the importance of securing any trash being transported in or on vehicles.
“Failing to secure a load, depending on the circumstances, could be charged up to a gross misdemeanor,” says San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs. "If you are driving a load of trash to the dump and garbage is just flying out of your vehicle, then that may be considered littering if you do not go back and pick it all up. One thing I have seen over the years [is] people either forgetting to put tie downs on their boats or thinking that they had a short drive and [it] was not needed. That also is considered failing to secure your load. We all enjoy the peaceful and serene nature of our islands. Please secure your loads and let’s keep our roadways clean as well as safe."
The AAA Foundation for Safety estimates that 40% of the roadside litter is caused by items blowing or falling from vehicles. The Great Islands Clean-up has been happening since 2011 in the San Juan Islands and many volunteers believe much of the collected trash is either a result of blatant littering or from unsecured loads.
“If you are driving a load of trash to the [transfer station] and garbage is just flying out of your vehicle, that may be considered littering if you do not go back and pick it all up,” says Krebs.
The current penalties and fines for not properly securing your load in San Juan County range from a gross misdemeanor to $553.00, depending on the offense. Each island transfer station has varying fees they charge for vehicles disposing of trash that has not been secured properly.
The 6-week campaign will include a how-to video and other visuals to demonstrate the proper steps for securing vehicle loads, facts, and a fun giveaway. Follow the campaign on Instagram via @exchangeorcas, on Facebook through “The Exchange / Orcas Recycling Services” or on the ORS/The Exchange webpage http://www.exchangeorcas.org/solid-waste/secure-your-load-for-safer-roads/.