Australia’s littering habits revealed

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MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 19 August 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Don Chambers, Chair KABNA
PHONE: 0408 654 209



Keep Australia Beautiful Week kicks off today with a new public awareness campaign and the release of the National Litter Index (NLI), showing a drop in litter by both item (3.4%) and volume (1.8%) over the past year.

Since the start of the NLI 8 years ago, an overall 20% reduction in items and 31% reduction by volume have been achieved.

Despite the positive national results, there is still more work to be done says Keep Australia Beautiful, with many states still lagging behind Victoria, which bolstered the national figures with an above-average 17% reduction by item and 13% reduction by volume over the past year.

According to Don Chambers, National Chairman of Keep Australia Beautiful, “Achieving a reduction of almost 60% in both litter items and volume* over the past 8 years, Victoria’s approach to litter prevention is clearly working.

“A holistic approach encompassing education and awareness campaigns, community engagement programs, great bin infrastructure that is well placed and well serviced, as well as various enforcement activities, demonstrates best practice and a cooperative attitude that engages community, government and business.

“We congratulate the state of Victoria on an exceptional outcome due to their long-term, bipartisan and cooperative strategies on litter prevention.”

The results show that Tasmania recorded the highest amount of litter by item, 48% above the national average, followed by Queensland. Both recorded a drop on the previous year.

In terms of volume, WA topped the list at 71% above the national average.  However, improvements have been made over the last four surveys, with the average number of littered items decreasing by 26% and by volume 20% from 2007/08. A positive decline at industrial sites and in illegal dumping, can be attributed to their zero tolerance policy and tougher new penalties.

NSW recorded a slight increase by volume and items. “Despite this, it is positive to note that NSW beaches and recreational parks saw a reduction in both items and volume which is of particular importance when it comes to diverting litter from our coastal and natural environments”, says Don Chambers.

“There was a small increase in litter items in the NT, with cigarette butts again being the main reason for the increase by item. Whilst there was small decrease in litter volume, it was disappointing to note an increase in illegal dumping”, he added.

SA recorded a small reduction in litter items, and a decrease in volume due to a very positive reduction in illegal dumping.  The ACT also saw a small reduction by item and volume achieved, and sits below the national average.

In an effort to keep the litter on a downward trend nationally, Keep Australia Beautiful is also launching a new campaign, specifically targeting young tech-savvy adults. The Littering Is Wrong Too initiative calls on people to jump online to ‘Write your Wrong’.

Taking a light-hearted approach to get attention and be talked about, the new campaign inextricably links littering with wrongdoing, whilst giving participants the chance to win $500 a week for five weeks.

A range of Australian personalities will be supporting the social media activity, whilst street team activations to engage the public in the Littering Is Wrong Too competition will be rolled out across Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney today.

To enter your ‘wrong’ visit

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For media interviews contact:

  • Don Chambers, KABNA Chairman on 0408 654 209
  • Lara Shannon, KAB Week Campaign Manager on 0415 076015 or

For a media summary or to download the full NLI report:

For general media assistance or state/territory office spokespeople contact:

Alice Morgan, KABNA Communications Officer on 0416 768 387 or

Editor’s Note

  • Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) is Australia’s leading grassroots environment organisation, with more than 45 years’ experience in changing behaviours and attitudes concerning litter and recycling.
  • Since 2005/2006, KAB has implemented a bi-annual litter count to provide reliable base line data on litter across Australia. NLI counts are conducted in November and May each year, and now cover 983 sites.
  • A reduction in litter items on beaches, car parks, recreational parks and retail sites contributed to the overall national decrease by item, whilst industrial, recreational parks and retail sites decreases contributed to the overall drop in volume.
  • Whilst most litter types recorded a decrease, cigarette butts remained the most frequently identified item and plastic litter objects contributed the largest amount of volume to the litter stream.
  • *Victoria has achieved a reduction of 58% in litter items and 59% in volume in the past 8 years.

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