If you glance at the side of the road during your next trip you might see the occasional shoe or fast food bag but those are just the top of the mountain of trash collected every year.

Rocking chairs, a prom dress and ski goggles aren’t exactly items you expect to see on the side of the road, but state department of transportation coordinator Melissa Black said they’ve seen it all and more.

"You do wonder sometimes, especially when you find odd articles of clothing how one looses these things," she said.

Cigarette butts and fast food containers make up the majority of trash on the side of the road, Black said. 

"You know cigarette butts people think, I’m sure, it’s just a tiny little cigarette but besides the possibility of starting a fire you have the fact that those don’t go anywhere they just sit there," she said. "When you’ve got all the people thinking the same thing and they’re all throwing cigarette butts out the window you end up with quite a mess."

After cleaning up the mess, if a crew finds an item they think someone might want back they take them to the nearest maintenance shed. Black said people should call  MoDOT  first to see if the item is there. Time and weather have made most things are unable to be returned, she said. 

If you do realize immediately that something important went out the window in the last few miles, she suggests pulling over and calling either MoDOT or the highway patrol for help.

download or listen to Aurora Meyer’s story here.