Trash Trap Program

Trash Traps are purpose-built stormwater litter traps. These traps sit in urban creeks and streams keeping man-made trash from entering main waterways. These devices are built to withstand the rigors of flashy rain events, yet passive enough not to harm the local fauna. Roadside littering accounts for approximately 75% of the trash in our nations waterways. Each time it rains, trash is funneled through our storm drain systems directly into our creeks. No filters or other mechanisms are in place to keep the trash from entering our waterways.

Once the trash has entered the water, it will begin the process of photodegradation. Whereby the petroleum based products such as plastics begin to break into smaller pieces known as microplastics. These tiny pieces of trash are in some instances consumed by wildlife with the majority of this debris will go on a journey that will take it through several states and rivers before finally ending up in our oceans.

NC Riverkeepers across the state received a grant with the help of Waterkeepers Carolina, to collaborate with Asheville GreenWorks and their Trash Trout design to help mitigate stormwater pollution in our waterways. The Haw River Assembly has installed its first Trash Trout in Third Fork Creek, Durham and other traps continue to be placed throughout the watershed.

Help us monitor our waterways by becoming a Trash Trap volunteer member.

Trash Trap Volunteer Form

Below, this image shows the data collected from all NC Trash Traps, via the ARC GIS dashboard! “ArcGIS” dashboards are typically used to visualize and share and learn from geographical information system (GIS) data, allowing us to see analytics and metrics through maps, charts, and graphs. This information is presented to government councils to create plans for litter mitigation and educating the public about litter in our waters!

Find results from our latest surveys and from other litter traps across the state by clicking on the dashboard above!

Microplastics in the Haw from Haw River Assembly on Vimeo.