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Booze and junk – our nation’s worst rubbish offenders

Media Release - 20 January 2010 

Australia’s love for drinks and snacks is having a major effect on the environment, not just our waistlines. According to Clean Up Australia’s newly released Rubbish Report, alcohol bottles/cans and plastic chip or confectionary bags/wrappers are some of the biggest scourges for our environment, figuring in a list of the most common rubbish items found on Clean Up Australia Day 2009.

Clean Up Australia’s Rubbish Report released today reveals that glass alcohol bottles and aluminium alcohol cans were the 2nd and 3rd biggest rubbish offenders for 2009, with the latter jumping up from 7th in 2008.  Plastic water bottles, plastic bottle caps and soft drink cans were also in the top 10 list of rubbish items.

“Aussies need to clean up their act, given that a staggering 40% of all rubbish collected during Clean Up Australia Day 2009 was beverage related, including alcohol, soft drink and water containers,” says Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and founder of Clean Up Australia.

Aussies with a penchant for chips and chocolate also need to watch their littering habits, with plastic chips and confectionary bag/wrappers coming in at number 5. Almost 17,000 of these items were removed by volunteers across the country last year.

“Year after year, plastic continues to be the biggest rubbish problem. The Rubbish Report is an important reminder for Australians to think carefully about how they dispose of common rubbish items and improve their habits, especially given that most of the top 10 items, such as bottles and cans are recyclable,” Kiernan added.

Top Ten Rubbish Items Revealed

  1. Cigarette Butts
  2. Glass Alcohol Bottles
  3. Aluminium Alcohol Cans
  4. Glass Pieces
  5. Plastic Chips & Confectionary wrappers/bags
  6. Plastic bottle caps
  7. Small Paper Pieces
  8. Aluminium Soft Drink Cans
  9. Plastic PET Drink Containers
  10. Foil confectionery wrappers

Clean Up Australia has released the Rubbish Report to coincide with a call for registrations for Clean Up Australia Day 2010, which celebrates its 20th national anniversary this year on Sunday, March 7. For more information and to register, visit www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au.

Other Rubbish Report Findings

Most Polluted Aussie Areas:

  • The most polluted site types in 2009 (and average number of rubbish items found per site):
    • Outdoor transport areas, i.e. bus stops and train platforms (512)
    • Beach/coastal areas (462)
    • School Grounds (379)
  • In 2009, beach/coastal areas recorded an increase in the number of rubbish items dropped to come in at second place.

How the States stack up:

  • WA is the worst offender when it comes to dropping cigarette butts in proportion to other items, accounting for 30% of total WA rubbish surveyed. This is much higher compared to QLD (17% of total rubbish) and NSW (15%)
  • Roadways were the most polluted areas for QLD, with an average of 822 pieces of rubbish picked up at these areas, much higher compared to river/creeks (536 rubbish items), the second most polluted type of area.
  • In SA plastic is the most common source of rubbish, accounting for 36% of its total,removed by volume. The predominant plastic items were chips/confectionary wrappers and dumped rubbish bags.
  • For VIC, WA and NSW, beach/coastal areas were their no. 1 most polluted areas

For further information or interviews please contact:
Sophie Coleman 8260 2841 / 0406 648 144 or Caitlin Dennehy 8260 2848 / 0423 267 383 cleanup@thisismango.com.au