Tips for Restaurants

Properly Clean Parking Lots

Most parking lots are impermeable surfaces and rain will wash all litter, debris, sediment, fertilizer and chemicals from automobiles into the storm drains. This is nonpoint source pollution and impermeable surfaces like parking lots accelerate storm water runoff which travels into our streams, the bay and the Gulf. These pollutants can harm marine creatures and wildlife, kill native vegetation and strengthen invasives, contaminate the water, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.


Major source of Nonpoint Source Pollution

As litter, debris, sediment, fertilizer, and chemicals wash off parking lots and into storm drains, pollution quickly drains into area streams, rivers, and bays. Most storm drains have no method of filtering out this pollution, and once itís in the water, it becomes increasingly difficult to remove.

Littering Increases with Lack of Trash Receptacles

Existing litter and lack of opportunity for proper disposal invites littering. Most littering occurs when there is no receptacle within 10 feet or less or if the place is already littered.

Lack of Ashtrays

Cigarette butts remain the largest category of litter picked up nation-wide. This is evident to anyone who has cleaned a parking lot. Providing ashtrays throughout the parking lot is a way of cutting down on this type of litter (Keep America Beautiful, 2009)

Things You Can Do

Pick Trash Up

Assign a staff member or hire a parking lot cleaning company to pick up trash and debris regularly so that your parking lot appears clean and so that rain does not wash pollution into storm drains that empty into our streams and bayous.

Provide More Trash Receptacles

Littering rates are shown to decrease as the convenience of using a proper receptacle increases. Receptacles are most effective when they are within 10 feet of a person who needs it.

Safco Canmeleo REcessed Waste Receptacle with Ash Urn (Amazon)

Empty Trash Receptacles When Full

Ensure trash receptacles are routinely checked and emptied to prevent overfilling and spillage.

Powerwash Parking Lots without Detergents

Many detergents and cleaning solutions contain harmful chemicals that wash down storm drains and empty directly into our streams and bayous. Phosphates from soap causes nutrient pollution while other chemicals can cause toxin pollution.

Photo By Mschel, CC BY-SA 3.0

Post No Littering Signs

Remind people that you are a Clean Water Future Creator by posting a sign reminding people not to litter.

Thank You For Using Trash Can Plastic Sign (Amazon)

Display Create a Clean Water Future Sticker

Let all your customers know that you are doing your part to create a clean water future by affixing our sticker prominently at your business. Request your free sticker today.

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Street Sweepers

Sweep Masters

Sweep Masters is a local street sweeping company who regularly come to your place of business to clean your parking lots of litter, oil residue, and sediment. They are proud partners of the Create a Clean Water Future Campaign. 251-375-1811


Storm Water Tool

EPA's National Stormwater Calculator (SWC) is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the United States

LID Handbook

Alabama Low Impact Development Handbook provided by Alabama Cooperative Extension System