DO THE RIGHT THING this Keep Australia Beautiful Week

Friday 19 August 2016



Wollongong KABW16 (2)

The ‘ballot bin’ at North Beach, Wollongong.

Alice and Jen at Wollongong launch

Alice Morgan and Jen Bryant from Keep Australia Beautiful at the Wollongong launch of Do The Right Thing.

KAB Week launch Minister Frydenberg Yarra

Launch of Keep Australia Beautiful Week in City of Yarra: Christopher Balmford, President of Yarra Riverkeepers; Sabina Wills, CEO of Keep Victoria Beautiful; Dick Gross, Chair of Keep Victoria Beautiful; Hon Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy; Philip Robinson, CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful.


DO THE RIGHT THING is making a comeback for Keep Australia Beautiful Week 2016, which runs from 22 – 28 August.

For almost half a century Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) has been fighting litter, and KAB Week 2016 has cigarette butts in line-of-sight.

Cigarette butts make up 43 percent of all littered items, according to the latest National Litter Index survey (NLI) 2015/16.

Philip Robinson, CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful said, “KAB Week 2016 is highlighting that cigarette butts are no small problem.”

“Litter is in our hands, and we want to bring the issue of cigarette butts to the forefront. They are Australia’s most littered item, with 7 billion of them dropped every year.”

“We want all Aussies to Do The Right Thing and put your butt in the bin.”

“The 2015/16 NLI Survey found 9 percent less litter than in the same period last year. This is no small feat, and we applaud Australians who do the right thing and use the right bin,” says Mr. Robinson.

Mr. Robinson points out that collaboration is key for a successful litter campaign.

“Litter is everyone’s problem. We all need to work together to tackle litter.”

The official launch of KAB Week will take place at various locations around Australia with the installation of voting-style ballot cigarette butt bins from Monday 22 August.

The ballot butt bins will allow users to ‘vote’ on questions such as: “Who will win in a fight: Emu or Kangaroo?” and “Favourite breakfast food: Bacon or Tofu.” The user chooses one of two receptacles to dispose of their cigarette butt. Each receptacle has a window to display the used butts, creating a public opinion poll.

The bins will feature questions about sports, current affairs, popular culture, the local area, as well as littering, and are designed to nudge smokers to Do The Right Thing with their butts while encouraging longer-term behaviour change.

The ‘ballot bin’ campaign was first trialled by Hubbub in the UK as part of the Neat Streets program in 2015.

KAB is encouraging all Australians to get involved on social media using #tidyaussie.

Keep Australia Beautiful Week is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of the Environment.

Key facts

  • Keep Australia Beautiful Week runs during the last full week of August every year. This year it takes place between 22 and 28 August.
  • The NLI is Australia’s only national, annual, quantitative litter survey commissioned by Keep Australia Beautiful and funded by government and industry.
  • Approximately 20 million cigarette butts are littered in Australia every day, totalling 7 billion per year.[1]
  • Over 90 percent of reports in NSW for littering from a vehicle is for cigarette butts.[2] Similarly, 86 percent of litter reported in WA is cigarette butts.[3]
  • Cigarette butts are not biodegradable will never fully degrade. The filter can be broken down into smaller pieces by the sun but the source material will only become diluted in water or soil.[4]
  • When the Do The Right Thing campaign was launched in the 1970s and 1980s, 80 percent of people recognised the catch phrase. In 2015, only 38 percent of people said they knew the phrase.[5]

– ENDS –


Keep Australia Beautiful is recognised as Australia’s independent litter prevention thought and practice leader, that strives for a litter free and sustainable Australia. It is a national organisation comprised of independent state and territory organisations.

With 48 years of experience in engaging Australians to care for their local environments, (not to be confused with Clean Up Australia) KAB programs include Tidy Towns, Clean Beaches, Sustainable Cities, National Litter Index, Beverage Container Recycling Grants, Eco-Schools, Adopt a Patch, and Keep Australia Beautiful Week in August. 

National Litter Index 2015/16 National Overview


Ballot butt bin locations


City of Hobsons Bay: TBC.

City of Monash: Cnr Eaton Mall and Portman St, Oakleigh; 371-319 Clayton Rd, Clayton; 82 Kingsway Glen Waverley, Century Cinema entry.


City of Parramatta: TBC.

City of Wollongong: Photo opp: 22 August @ 11am. North Beach: Across the road from the Novotel Hotel at 2 Cliff Rd.

City of Newcastle: 666 Hunter Street.

Blacktown: 22 Main Street, Blacktown; Dawson Mall, Mt Druitt (near the side entrance of Westfield).

City of Canada Bay: Rhodes Town Square, Mary Street, Rhodes.


Gilligans 57-89 Grafton St, Cairns City

Media Comment:

Philip Robinson, CEO, Keep Australia Beautiful | 0413 354 680 |

National Media Contact:

Alice Morgan, Communications Manager, Keep Australia Beautiful | 0416 768 387 |

[1] Butt Free


[3] Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA

[4] Novotny TE, Lum K, Smith E, et al. Cigarettes butts and the case for an environmental policy on hazardous cigarette waste.

[5] Litter in Australia 2015: Sentiment and trends Study. McCrindle for Keep Australia Beautiful.

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