The Times is doing a series of articles highlighting common laws and rules. Today, we examine littering. To suggest a law for The Times to highlight, contact the writer.
In tough economic times, some people try to save money by cutting spending on anything that isn't essential.
But people who cancel their garbage service should keep in mind that it is illegal to dump garbage along a rural roadside, to burn it or to place it in someone else's garbage can or Dumpster without their permission.
Indiana law states a person who places garbage on the property of another commits littering, a ticketable offense. Indiana law allows fines of as much as $1,000, more if it involves a lit cigarette.
Porter County police Sgt. John Kuehl said police haven't seen a noticeable increase in garbage being dumped on rural roads -- yet. He said people who live in cities and towns have garbage service and, therefore, are unlikely to turn to dumping. It is the people in unincorporated areas -- who must arrange for their own garbage service and pay for it -- who would be more likely to dump, he said.
Kuehl said police did see some instances of shingles and building materials being dumped during the summer. But people don't have to dump large quantities of trash to get in trouble. Tossing something as small as a cigarette butt, a beverage container or a fast food bag out of a car window can get someone ticketed.
With dumping not an option, some people turn to burning their garbage or tossing it in a Dumpster. But Kuehl said it is illegal to burn garbage, and he said it is considered theft of services to use someone's Dumpster without their permission.