History of the Litter Bug and PennDOT



The Litterbug is a registered mark of the Pennsylvania Resources Council. The caricature of the Litterbug PRC first introduced in 1952 was selected from one of several sketches. It had a pirate type patch over one eye, a huge head, a yellow and black striped body, a long insect-like nose, wings and smoked a cigarette. A model of this first Litterbug hangs in the conference room of PRC's Ridley Creek State Park Office. PRC first allowed the National Council of State Garden Clubs to use the Litterbug in its anti-litter campaign of the mid-fifties in conjunction with the "Don't Be A Litterbug" slogan, which PRC used continuously for the next fifty years in many anti-litter campaigns. A few years later PRC gave permission to Keep America Beautiful, a national trade association of bottlers that organized to fight litter and container deposit legislation through its Clean Cities Program and by actively promoting recycling. KAB used the bug for more than ten years and put the Don't Be A Litterbug slogan to music.

Although PRC's records indicate PRC has used the "Don't Be A Litterbug" slogan since 1952, Amelia Opdyke Jones claims to have introduced the word "litterbug" to usage. An illustrator for the Subway Sun, Jones claims she introduced the word "litterbug" in a poster she created for the Subway Sun (Vol.14, No.1) in 1947 which said, "nobody loves a litterbug." She reportedly derived the word litterbug from the popular dance of the time, the jitterbug.

In 1994 PRC hired Wally Neibert to redraw the Litterbug. He came up with a new design, which resembled the old Litterbug, but looked slightly more 90's. In 1997 when the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection asked PRC's admission to use the Litterbug in its forthcoming statewide anti-litter campaign, PRC decided it was time the Litterbug had a total facelift so it could move into the new millenium with a more politically correct appearance. Tom Evans, a free-lance artist from West Chester, Pennsylvania was hired to create the new Litterbug, which was introduced at a press conference in Harrisburg on March 10, 1997 by DEP, Secretary James M. Seif and PRC's former executive director Ruth H. Becker. Gone were the eye patch, the striped body and the cigarette. The new bug had a fuzzy body, looked less evil and more mischievous. A mascot was created by PRC and the Litterbug traveled to schools, community events and meetings preaching litter and being warned "Don't Be A Litterbug." In 1999 PennDOT (the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) received permission from PRC to use the Litterbug in its anti-litter program and had six more Litterbug mascots designed for loan through its Regional Offices.