A survey of 7,000 American hoarders, conducted recently by Servicemaster of Lake Shore, Ill., determined that the average person hoards a lot of stuff, and from there illegal dumping becomes an issue.

The cleaning and restoration service company found that US residents are hoarding almost $50 billion worth of unused goods, which is on average the equivalent of $390.16 per household.

In Pennsylvania, it was found that people are hoarding $394.74 worth of items per household, which is the equivalent of $1.9 billion worth overall in the state. Additionally, a whopping 76% of Pennsylvanians admit that their unused goods are a fire hazard.

Unfortunately, for those who do decide it is time to clear their home of growing clutter, far too many opt to dump garbage and unwanted items illegally, creating an issue throughout the US. It remains a constant concern in Pennsylvania.

“Illegal dumping is a significant problem to our local environment. Rural communities are especially affected with many unseen areas that are targeted by dumpers. Illicit disposal of unwanted items can impact landowners, waterways, soils, and wildlife,” said Jody Groshek, communications & outreach director of the McKean County Conservation District.

She continued, “There are significant fines for both littering and illegal dumping. Illegal disposal of certain materials can also be considered pollution. Residents need to take the extra effort to responsibly dispose of difficult items, such as televisions, electronics, tires, and hazardous material.”

Per survey results from Servicemaster, in Pennsylvania, 37% of people admit to having illegally dumped unwanted items when they finally got rid of them. This tracks with the number of dump sites currently recognized within PA’s borders.

According to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, www.keeppabeautiful.org,

“Illegal dumping is a state-wide concern. Dumpsites can be found in every county — 6,500 at last count. In addition to contaminating our soil, surface and groundwater supplies, illegal dumps are unsightly and negatively impact property values. They are a public health hazard as they attract disease-spreading rodents and mosquitoes by giving them a place to live and breed. Socially, they send a message that no one cares about the community or property, and quality of life can be negatively impacted.”

Another important factor to consider is the cost of cleanup for these sites. Per Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, “Cleanups conducted by local municipalities are costly, averaging about $600 per ton, or roughly $3,000 per site and divert tax dollars and staff resources that could be better spent on community infrastructure, parks, or social programs.”

Another interesting piece of information the Servicemaster survey discovered was that only 39% say they recycle their electronic waste. This is actually an environmental hazard due to the highly toxic materials contained in e-waste, such as mercury and heavy metals. These substances contaminate landfills and take up unnecessary space.

For anyone who has concerns about the illegal dumping in Pennsylvania, an online survey is currently active that collects information about illegal littering and dumping, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PAlitter2019

Learn more about the hoarding habits of residents of other states by visiting Servicemaster's interactive map: