When I google "drop litter", only results from British websites appear.

What is the typical way in America to warn against littering?

Is it simply "do not litter" or is the verb "drop" also used?

  • 5
    "No littering" seems to be what I've always seen in the US. "Don't (Do not) litter", too. Can you edit the question title to be in line with the body?
    – user140086
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:31
  • 4
    As an American, I saw "drop litter" in this question and thought some military medics had dropped a patient. The process of creating litter has pretty much always been called littering in my experience. "Don't litter" is exactly right for AmE.
    – stevesliva
    Dec 14, 2016 at 15:44
  • 1
    It's trash when it's in your hand or in the proper receptacle, it becomes litter through the act of littering.
    – John Feltz
    Dec 14, 2016 at 18:33
  • 3
    In the south when a dog gives birth to multiples we say she drop litter of puppies
    – Kris
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:43
  • 1
    In the US, "litter" is a verb meaning to release waste materials onto a surface where they are not wanted.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:43

2 Answers 2


To add to Laurel's great answer, here is a list of the situation for 'litter' in AmE and BrE:

In AmE, 'litter' can be used in both noun and verb forms when talking about trash that is freely on the ground and not in a trash receptacle.

As a noun:

"Put the litter in the trash can."

As a verb:

"You're littering if you throw your cigarette out the car window."

and the ubiquitous

"Don't litter."

It seems in BrE that using 'litter' as a verb is not done: the last two items are not used. Instead in BrE you'd normally say

"You're dropping litter..."


"Don't drop litter"

The latter, with 'drop', makes sense in AmE, but it is just not used at all because you would say "Don't litter".

  • 2
    As I said in one of my comments on the original post the only way we don't use "litter" as a verb is intransitively but in US English the intransitive form is completely accepted. Even transitively we would more commonly use 'to litter' with an indirect object as well saying things like "Littering the streets with fast food containers".
    – BoldBen
    Jun 12, 2022 at 10:51

No, Americans don't use "drop litter". Instead, you'll find signs that just say "no littering", such as this one:

no littering, circle with slash over guy littering

There are also signs that say "do not litter":

please do not litter, guy puts trash in can

Images from Recycle Reminders

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