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Victorians need to bin the butts

Media Release - 7 February 2011

Download the 2010 Rubbish Report PDF (9mb) 

Results from the 2010 Rubbish Report have shown smokers in Victoria are ignoring calls to bin their butts.

Cigarette butts accounted for 27% of rubbish removed from sites around the garden state of Victoria on Clean Up Australia Day 2010. This was an increase from 2009 when cigarette butts accounted for 13% of rubbish removed.

Closely behind is glass, accounting for 16% of rubbish versus a national average of 10%. And unfortunately most of this dangerous waste is found on beaches and coastal areas.

Calling for Victorians to join forces for Clean Up Australia Day, Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and founder of Clean Up Australia noted; ‘Victoria has some of the most beautiful beaches and coastal strips in Australia – it’s simply unacceptable that they are considered to be giant ashtrays.”

“The increased number of cigarette butts volunteers are removing is particularly alarming. It’s only two years since this state suffered the worst fires of our lifetime. The chances of fire from a carelessly tossed butt or heat generated by sun on glass are so high. This is more than a rubbish issue – it’s simply plain irresponsible to drop these items”.

In 2010 an estimated 111,488 volunteers removed around 2,977 tonnes of rubbish from 1353 registered Clean Up sites across the state.

Recognising the commitment and spirit of volunteers in Victoria, Ian Kiernan stated “Clean Up Australia Day would not be possible without the amazing volunteers working to clean up their own local areas. It is vital that we continue to tap into this great effort by registering for 2011.”
“With rubbish increasing its visibility in 2010, we can’t just sit around – we need to take action for our environment. We are a resilient nation and through community effort we can preserve our beautiful environment.”

While cigarette butts were the top rubbish item collected in Victoria, plastic remained as the predominant form of rubbish for the 16th year running, 27% of all rubbish items removed in Victoria was some form of plastic. Its long lasting persistence (plastic bags can last up to 450 years in salt water) makes plastic one of the most destructive forms of waste in Australia.

Nationally, the Rubbish Report found a 6% increase in the number of rubbish items per surveyed site. With Clean Up Australia Day celebrating its 21st year, it is now more important than ever for Victorians to get involved and do their bit to preserve their local environment and clean up Australia.

This call to action comes as Clean Up Australia announced the 2010 Rubbish Report and revealed the statistics of the Australian effort last year. Across the country 588,000 volunteers removed 15,560 tonnes from 7,073 sites, making Clean Up Australia Day the largest community participation event in the country.

Clean Up Australia Day began when founder Ian Kiernan was shocked by the amount of waste he encountered while sailing the world’s oceans. Preventing waste from entering waterways is still a key goal of Clean Up Australia Day, and Clean Up urges Victorian residents to do their bit by registering for 2011.

Simply go to www.cleanupaustraliaday.com.au or call 1800 CUA DAY.


  1. Cigarette butts
  2. Small paper
  3. Alcoholic beverage bottles
  4. Bottle caps
  5. Chips and confectionary


  1. Beach/coastal
  2. School grounds
  3. River/creek
  4. Parks
  5. Bushland


  1. Plastic
  2. Miscellaneous
  3. Metal/aluminium
  4. Glass
  5. Paper

Other VIC results:
Fact 1 – Victoria generates roughly 10 million tonnes of waste every year, of which 38% goes to landfill .

Fact 2 – Glass waste was more common in Victoria, with 16% of the rubbish found being glass compared to a national average of 10%.

Fact 3 – Plastic waste was less common in Victoria, with 27% of the rubbish found being plastic compared to a national average of 32%.  This was a slight decrease from 2009 when plastic accounted for 28%.

Fact 4 – Beach and coastal areas were the most polluted sites surveyed in Victoria with on average 564 items of rubbish found per site.  This was a decrease from last year when 805 rubbish items were found on average at these sites.

Fact 5 – Cigarette butts accounted for 27% of rubbish collect from sites around Victoria.  This was an increase from 2009 when cigarette butts accounted for 13% of rubbish found.

Fact 6 – If container deposit legislation was introduced in Victoria, the rubbish items collected could generate over $6,500 in revenue at 10c per item.

Fact 7 – Glass alcoholic beverage bottles accounted for 5% of the total amount of VIC rubbish collected, a decrease from 2009 when alcoholic bottles accounted for 10%.

National findings from Clean Up Australia 2010 Rubbish Report:

  • Plastics represent 40% of all rubbish found including pet drink bottles, bottle caps and lids plus chips/confectionery bags
  • There was a 6% increase in number of rubbish items found per surveyed site, equating to 124 items per square kilometres.
  • Outdoor transport sites had the highest density of rubbish of all sites surveyed, with 326 items per square kilometre. They had close to twice the waste density of shops/malls and 46 times more waste than public bushland
  • Cigarette butts were the most commonly found item for the 15th year in a row – 1 in 5 waste items removed in 2010 was a cigarette butt
  • Beach and coastal areas and rivers/creeks showed the significant waste density at 164 and 108 items per square kilometre respectively

Australia’s largest community participation event. Get a group together and register your chosen Clean Up Site online.

Clean Up Australia Day – Sunday 6 March
Business Clean Up Day – Tuesday 1 March
Schools Clean Up Day – Friday 4 March

Your local park, waterway, bus area, beach or street.

Everyone is welcome – friends, family, kids, community groups, work colleagues or anyone else.

Register for Clean Up Australia Day now at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au or call 1800 CUA DAY for more information.


For any further media information or an interview, please contact:   
Monique Jones or Shadiyah Lim Taurus Marketing                                                             
Phone: +61 2 9415 4528 or +61 413 689 343                                                         
Email: monique@taurusmarketing.com.au / shadiyah@taurusmarketing.com.au