Keep Australia Beautiful Week

For Schools


Millions of pieces of litter are dropped across Australia each year with research revealing that a quarter of Australians admit to littering. After cigarette butts, paper and plastic are the most common items to litter our beaches, parks, roads and neighbourhoods and much of that waste stems from take-away food containers, bottles and cups.

This year’s Keep Australia Beautiful Week (KABW2015), which runs from August 24 to August 31, is calling for people to treat their local community as if it was their own backyard. The nation’s peak litter prevention body, Keep Australia Beautiful  (KAB), hopes the theme, It’s Everyone’s Backyard, will not only remind Aussies to dispose of litter properly but will raise greater awareness about how long different pieces of rubbish take to break down.

A glass bottle can take up to one million years to decompose while a plastic bottle takes up to 450 years.  “No one would want to see that litter in their own backyard so we are urging Australians to treat our beautiful country with the same respect,’’ said KAB chief executive officer Peter  McLean.


Australian students and teachers can now stay up to date with new environmental research, learn about innovative practices and link up with millions of students around the world through the Eco-Schools program.

The program, which started 20 years ago in Europe now spans more than 60 countries and 44,000 schools, hit our shores last year when Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) won the rights to be the nation’s Eco-Schools service provider.

More than 100 schools across the country have joined the program which provides a framework integrated into the school curriculum. Largely student-led, Eco-Schools fosters responsibility and active-citizenship, while also encouraging a whole school approach to environmental sustainability. There is also an international accreditation system with three levels of awards to acknowledge the success of student-led initiatives.

Learn more:


Lifecycle of waste Eco-Schools 2015 (2)

  1. Create a map of the playground.
  2. Record on the map where litter has been dropped . When finished, collect all the litter.
  3. Separate litter into metal, plastic, glass, paper/cardboard, food and miscellaneous (inc clothing)
  4. Using the infographic, work out how many years it will take for all of the litter to break down.
  5. Conduct interviews with students about why they might litter.
  6. Using findings from your interviews, come up with a plan for improving the amount of litter found at your school, ie moving bins, using recycling bins, installing a compost bin, etc.
  7. Design a poster to be placed around school grounds encouraging students to do the right thing. (See example poster below)
  8. Repeat audit in one month to see if plan has reduced litter.


ES poster mock up


Write a definition for each of these words.









  • Recycling a one-metre stack of newspapers can save one tree.
  • Every aluminium can recycled saves enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours.
  • Most litter occurs within 5 meters of a rubbish bin.
  • Plastic has increased 650% in the last 40 years.
  • Up to one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year after becoming entangled in or ingesting litter.
  • It takes up to 600 years for fishing line to decompose.
  • Every Australian household produces more than one tonne of waste per year (on average).
  • Up to 80% of what we throw away can be reused or recycled instead.


Head over to

This site was created by 10 year old Hamish, who is Grade 5 and goes to school in Townsville. He wants to educate people through online games and apps about the damage rubbish does to the environment and to help fundraise to save the world from litter!

“My new LitterbugSmash multi-level platform game is live now in beta in the GamePress Arcade and here is a link to a sneak YouTube preview of some live gameplay. Click on the video to see if we can save the turtle from the ghost net!!!

By the time you finish watching the few minutes of video about three quarters of a ton of plastic garbage will have been dumped in our world’s oceans.

Thank you all for the work you are doing to reduce rubbish, and protect our environment, our beaches, waterways  – and our turtles.

My website also contains some great facts about litter and a link to my new beta version quiz app, which I designed using Scratch.”