You've been mowing your lawn for a few months now this year, and you may have been doing it wrong. If you get caught doing it wrong, you could be fined between $1500 and $25,000, maybe even face jail time! All because of how you mow your lawn. You dirty, dirty felon. Really it just has to do with littering and what you do with your grass clippings.

You see, most people just mow the clippings out into the road and call it a day. "Hey, it's not on MY property anymore! Why should I have to worry about it?!" you just thought to yourself like a selfish, jerk felon. You do have to worry about it because according to Illinois State Law, that's littering, and on your first offense, you could see a fine of $1500, the third offense could see upwards of $25,000 OR up to three years in prison. Yeah... you'll be right there next to Andy Dufresne, but unlike Andy, you're guilty and don't have a Rita Hayworth poster.

"Litter" means any discarded, used or unconsumed substance or waste. "Litter" may include, but is not limited to, any garbage, trash, refuse, cigarettes, debris, rubbish, GRASS CLIPPINGS or other lawn or garden waste... ...any object likely to injure any person or create a traffic hazard, potentially infectious medical waste as defined in Section 3.360 of the Environmental Protection Act, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature, which has been discarded, abandoned or otherwise disposed of improperly."

Now in Missouri on the other hand, there slightly looser legal definitions of litter and disposal of it, at least at the state level. What you should be mindful of, however, are the county and city codes regarding disposal of lawn clippings. Hannibal, for instance, prohibits debris of any kind (including grass) on city streets.

This is all for a few reasons. Grass can build up and clog sewer systems. They can create hazardous driving conditions for motorcycles. And it just keeps everything looking clean and nice.

So when you're mowing your yard, make sure you aren't just blowing the clippings into the street. They may not be your problem, but the ensuing fine will be. Give a hoot. Don't pollute.

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