24 AUGUST 2015




AUSTRALIANS are all care but no responsibility when it comes to litter with 90 per cent claiming to feel guilty if they drop rubbish but one third of people littering anyway, new research has revealed.

This is the first time Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) has commissioned research into our behaviour and attitudes to litter with more than 2000 Australians surveyed.

The McCrindle Research survey[i], which included Tasmanian residents, was commissioned in time for this year’s KAB Week – an annual event that reminds all Australians to keep our country beautiful and litter-free.

The survey revealed stark contradictions between what we think and how we act when it comes to rubbish.

“The vast majority of us, 83 per cent, say that litter is a problem in our own community and yet only seven per cent of people participated in an organised clean-up day in the past year,’’ said KAB Chief Executive Officer Peter McLean.

“And while 99 per cent say litter bothers them, 30 per cent of us confess to doing it anyway.

“We are obviously not walking the talk.’’

The survey found food, cigarette butts and small pieces of paper such as receipts were the most typically dropped items.

It also revealed the most common excuses for littering were that the piece of rubbish was ‘very small’, that it was biodegradable and that there were no bins nearby.

“However, this is not always the case,’’ Mr McLean said.

“The latest 2014/15 National Litter Index[ii] (NLI) revealed that while most sites with rubbish bins had less litter, retail areas were a stark exception.

“Retail areas were found to be one of the most heavily littered sites across the country, yet they have the highest number of rubbish bins available.”

The NLI found 194 items of rubbish were dumped on average per 1,000m2 of retail shop fronts (the area from the front of the shop to the gutter) across Tasmania, despite having access to 15 rubbish bins and one anti-litter sign in the same area.

“These pieces of research demonstrate that what we say and what we do don’t match up,’’ Mr McLean said.

“We need to start putting our money where our mouth is and cleaning up after ourselves.

“It’s hard to believe that people will shop all day to bag a clothing bargain and line up for cheap petrol but they are prepared to spend millions of their taxpayer dollars on cleaning up litter.’’

Mr McLean said this year’s theme for KAB Week, It’s Everyone’s Backyard, was designed to prompt Australians to match their words with actions.

“The research found that if we saw a friend litter, 74 per cent of us would ask them to clean it up but if it was a stranger we observed littering, only 31 per cent of us would intervene,’’ he said.

“We need to take more responsibility and challenge those who are littering our country.

“We need to remember that Australia belongs to all of us – it’s everyone’s backyard.’’

The official launch of KAB Week will take place at 10am, followed by a day of free events and activities which will include a guest appearance by the new KAB Ambassador, popular television character Agro, operated by comedian Jamie Dunn, as well as an interactive three-dimensional chalk installation.

KAB Week was launched today (Monday 24) and will run until August 30. More information visit – https://kab.org.au/keep-australia-beautiful-week/

KAB Week is sponsored by the Australian Government Department for the Environment.

KAB is encouraging all Australians to get involved on social media: #KABWeek #TidyAussie #KeepAustraliaBeautiful

MEDIA CONTACT:  Shaun Rigby, Sequel PR,  0438 021 936 

About Keep Australia Beautiful: Keep Australia Beautiful is the national peak body on litter prevention. With more than four decades 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, Eco-Schools, Adopt a Patch, and Keep Australia Beautiful Week in August.

The KAB National website is www.kab.org.au where all information on the organisation can be accessed including the National Litter Index, which is Australia’s only independent nation-wide litter research.

[i] Litter in Australia: Sentiment and Trends Study 2015, McCrindle Research Pty Ltd

[ii] MacGregor Tan Research (July 2015). National Litter Index Annual Report 2014/15  Keep Australia Beautiful.

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