LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For Jennifer La Corte, she not has a professional reason to keep Lufkin beautiful, but also a personal one.
On her way to pick her child from school, La Corte, the executive director of Angelina/Beautiful Clean watched someone throw a cigarette butt out of their car, which then landed on her windshield.
"You might not notice it because it's a small cigarette butt, but things like that add up on the side of the road," La Corte said.
La Corte, who focuses efforts on prevention, said over time, the litter builds up to the extent that it can become an eyesore.
"What happens is, it either stays there for a real long time, and you end up noticing it when it becomes an issue, or a concerned citizen goes up and picks up a certain area," La Corte said.
La Corte said residents can do better to prevent the problem.
Litter and illegal dumping is a problem seen across the state and even nationwide.
A recent study shows that communities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year fighting a problem that experts say is preventable.
The study found that two years ago, the City of Lufkin's litter problem cost the community more than $232,000.
Roughly $162,000 was spent combating litter and illegal dumping, leaving one of the many city departments such as solid waste to pick up the tab.
"Every town has people who illegal dump, and you just go pick it up. You make it go away. And the citizens are happy," said Eddie Pepper, who is an assistant director with the City of Lufkin's Solid Waste Department.
Pepper said it's the same resources that he has to address the daily routines and litter concerns.
"But it may take them off their normal routine, and so your service that you put out at your home that you called us and did everything the right way, it may take a little longer to get around to you," Pepper said.
The study shows that several cities across Texas combined spend more than $50 million on litter prevention alone.