Wichita Litter Study

The Wichita Litter Study engaged with volunteers through June and July of 2021 to gather litter data.  Citizen scientists counted, logged, and disposed of litter data collected within targeted sites in 12 different locations throughout the City of Wichita.

Total litter data
47% of litter data collected was plastic.  If the plastic items collected, 75% were food and beverage wrappers or containers.


Litter Sources
49% of litter data collected were from the food and beverage industry, such as food wrappers and take-away containers.


Condition of litter collected
Most of the litter collected was fully or partially intact.  

Infographics with data information


Photo of EPA ETAP resource manual


EPA Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol

The data collection logs used for the Wichita Litter Study were based off EPA's Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP).  This quantitative survey tool provides a standard method for collecting and assessing litter data and was designed to be applied to a broad range of site types.

Learn more about ETAP



Frequently Asked Questions

How will results of the study be used? 

The EFC will develop a Litter Study Report including the data collected, data analysis, litter mapping and recommendations for policies and/or programs to reduce litter in the Wichita area. That report will be available to the public as well as the City of Wichita Task Force and City Council as a resource for decision making and future initiatives. 

Where will I find the results of this Litter Study? 

Results of the study will be posted on the EFC website and City of Wichita website. 

Will this Litter Study result in a plastic bag ban? 

Although this initiative is supported by the City of Wichita Plastic Bag Task Force, the study will measure and categorize all forms of litter found in Wichita parks.  This study will take a comprehensive approach to understanding the challenges and recommending strategies for litter prevention and reduction throughout the city. 

I am a teacher; can my students participate? 

The Wichita Litter Study is a great opportunity to engage students in citizen science. Events are currently planned for June and July so they will not align with the academic year but may be appropriate for summer learning programs. Educators should contact Michelle DeHaven to discuss opportunities for students to contribute to this project. 

How will I know how to categorize data?

Every volunteer is required to complete the Volunteer Training.  You can view it immediately after completing the Volunteer Interest Form and you can watch it again anytime. 

Where will litter data be collected? 

Litter data will be collected at targeted areas within 12 different parks within the Wichita city limits.  Targeted areas will be marked at each data collection event.  After you sign-up for a date and time, you will receive more information about where to go specifically.

Are there any age restrictions to participate? 

We welcome volunteers of all ages to participate in this project; however, vvolunteers under the age of eighteen (18) must have written consent of a parent or guardian. For quality assurance purposes, volunteers under the age of sixteen (16) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

I have difficulty walking on uneven terrain, will I still be able to participate? 

All collection sites are in parks within the City of Wichita.  Each location has varying degrees of accessibility. Volunteers with limited mobility should contact Michelle DeHaven when completing the volunteer interest form, and we will do our best to match you to a location that includes more even terrain.  

Can my group sign up as a team? 

We encourage you to gather a group to participate in a data collection event!  There is not an option to sign up a team; however, please coordinate with your group on the date and time for which you wish to participate and then encourage everyone to sign up for that date.  When you sign up, there will be an option to comment.  Feel free to put the name of the group that you are with in that space. 

What do I need to bring to a data collection event? 

Volunteers should arrive dressed for the weather and working in outdoor conditions, including close-toed shoes and sun/rain protection. Because we will be working for up to 2 hours, you should bring water.  The site coordinator will provide volunteers with disposable gloves, trash bags, and other tools for collecting and recording data. 

Do I need to wear a mask? 

In accordance with CDC guidelines, all volunteers will be asked to wear a face covering when working closely (withing 6 ft) with others. Disposable masks will be provided if you do not have one.  

Can I participate in more than one litter collection event? 

Yes! You are welcome to participate in as many collection events as you would like. Volunteering for both events at a given site can also improve precision of the collection process, so if you plan to participate in more than one event consider volunteering at the same site during the June and July collections. 

Who do I contact if I have questions? 

Prior to your event, please contact Michelle DeHaven with questions. If you have questions about the collection and data recording process or how to categorize litter while on site, please check with your site coordinator. 

Need a refresher on how to collect data?  Watch the training video again!


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