The Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index (NLI) (2018/2019) results have been analysed, showing surprise results in the twelfth year that the survey has been conducted across 983 national sites.
According to the latest data, Australia’s litter has increased by 1 per cent, with the biggest increases observed occurring in take-away food and beverage packaging (5.3 per cent), glass (26.9 per cent), general plastic (9.1 per cent) and other litter (1.8 per cent).
Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) CEO, Val Southam, said the organisation was not referring to beverage containers when talking about beverage packaging.
“These are counted as Container Deposit Scheme, or CDS, beverage containers,” explained Ms Southam.
“’Take away food’ and ‘beverage packaging’ refer to things like milkshake containers, drinks in plastic cups and other plastic containers that once held take away food.”
The introduction of CDS on beverage containers in several states has had a positive impact on beverage container litter, which dropped by 11 per cent this year. Unfortunately, this legislation has not had an impact on other litter which is still on the increase.
“We are calling on the Packaging Industry, and in particular the quick service restaurant sector, to recognise that litter from their sector is not reducing,” commented Ms Southam.
“We need both sectors to accept their share of the responsibility in contributing to the issue, and to support our programs that are designed to tackle the problem.”
KAB also recognises the importance of the community in resolving the issue of litter.
“The community needs to be more engaged, and it needs to change their behaviour,” said Ms Southam.
“Our iconic Do the Right Thing program is just the answer. There is still a requirement to help ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ and to ‘Do the Right Thing’ – to drive awareness, education, and positive behaviour change with the help of all industry, community, and government working together.
“KAB recognises that it needs the support of all Australians – from government to community to industry –to make this program a success in driving positive behavioural change and healthy attitudes to litter reduction.”