The 'Major Sources of Rubbish' chart shows the types of rubbish surveyed and the proportion they represent of the total rubbish surveyed.

Plastics were the most common rubbish items removed for the eleventh consecutive year. Amongst the most frequently found plastic items were chips and confectionery bags, straws and bottle caps & lids.

This is the lowest percentage for the period 2002-2005.

Miscellaneous rubbish was the second most common type of rubbish collected. In 2005, miscellaneous rubbish represented 19% of all rubbish removed - up from 17% in 2004 and 13% in 2003. Cigarette butts made up the majority of miscellaneous rubbish accounting for 86% of all miscellaneous rubbish and 17% of all rubbish removed.

Paper/cardboard was the third most common type of rubbish found (15%), followed by glass (14%), metal (12%), polystyrene (5%) wood (2%) and rubber (1%).


Plastic was once again the most common type of rubbish found on Clean Up Australia Day, although the amount of plastic items found decreased from last year. In 2005 plastic items accounted for 32% of all rubbish found, compared with 37% in 2004.

Once again chips and confectionery bags were the most common types of plastic rubbish found, accounting for 17% of all the plastic items surveyed.

Straws were the second most commonly found item at 12%, representing a sharp increase from 2004 when they accounted for 7% of all plastic items found. Straws were followed by bottle caps and lids (11%), PET bottles (10%), supermarket/retail bags (7%) and packaging (6%).

Shops/malls had the highest number of plastic items found, with an average of 189 items per site. Outdoor transport sites were close behind with an average of 184 items per site.

Notably, the average number of plastic items found at most sites has decreased. For example, this year an average of 140 plastic items were found at rivers/creeks, compared to 467 items in 2004.


Polystyrene accounted for 5% of all rubbish found - no change from 2004.

Polystyrene pieces accounted for 32% of this total - an 11% decrease from last year. In contrast, this year fast food containers accounted for 28% of polystyrene rubbish, a 6% increase from last year. Cups and plates also increased from last year to account for 26% of all polystyrene pieces this year.

Shops and malls had the highest average number of polystyrene pieces found, accounting for an average of 53 items. Rivers and creeks were in second place with an average of 26 items found at each site - a sharp decrease from 2004 when an average of 82 items were found at rivers/creeks.


Glass accounted for 14% of all rubbish surveyed in 2005 - a slight increase from 2004 when it accounted for 12% of all rubbish surveyed.

Glass pieces made up the largest proportion of glass items at 45% - a 7% increase from 2004. Alcoholic beverage bottles accounted for 39% of glass pieces, a 5% decrease from last year, followed by soft drink bottles (10%), fruit juice bottles (3%), food jars (2%) and other (1%).

Public bushland had the highest number of glass items, with an average of 136 items per site. This is significantly higher than last year's average of 42 items per public bushland site.


As in previous years, rubber has remained the smallest source of rubbish accounting for 1% of total rubbish surveyed. This year shoes and thongs accounted for 23% of all types of rubber rubbish found, up 4% from 2004. In second place were tyres and gloves, both accounting for 22%, condoms 13% and other items 20%.

Beach/coastal areas had the highest number of rubber items, with an average of 6 items per site. This represents a change from last year when rivers and creeks yielded the highest number of items with an average of 9 items per site.

The number of items found at school grounds dropped from an average of 7 items in 2004 to 3 items in 2005.

Paper & Cardboard

Paper and cardboard accounted for 15% of the total rubbish surveyed in 2005, representing a 2% increase from 2004.

Small paper pieces again were the most common type of paper/cardboard rubbish found, accounting for 28% - a 2% decrease from 2004.

Following small paper pieces was fast food packaging (12%), bags (11%), cigarette packs (10%), napkins/tissues (7%) and newspapers/books and magazines (7%).

Shops/malls had the highest average amount of paper rubbish, with an average of 179 items per surveyed site. This is an increase from an average of 85 items per shops/mall site in 2005. However, this can be explained by the very small size of only 8 sites for shops/malls.

Roadway sites however had fewer paper and cardboard items this year, with an average of 79 items per site, compared with an average of 110 items per roadway site in 2004.

Metal and Aluminium

Metal and aluminium represented 12% of all the rubbish surveyed on Clean Up Australia Day. This is a slight decrease from 13% last year.

Alcoholic beverage and soft drink cans were the most commonly found metal items, accounting for 21% and 22% of respectively of all metal rubbish found.

The next most common metal items in 2005 were bottle caps and foil/confectionery wrappers, each accounting for 17%.

While the highest number of metal items (111) was found at shops/malls, the result is skewed because of the small sample size.

'Other' sites were next on the list with an average of 70 metal items, followed by public bushland with an average of 61 items and beach/coastal sites with an average of 58 items.


Wood accounted for 2% of total rubbish surveyed on Clean Up Australia Day. As has been the case in previous years, ice cream sticks made up the majority of wood items (37%), followed by construction material (30%), wood pieces (20%) and bottle corks (7%).

Wood items were most commonly found at public bushland sites, with an average of 11 items per site. This number is a slight increase from 2004 when an average of 10 items was found at public bushland sites.

Parks/waterfronts experienced a decrease in the volume of wood items, with an average of 7 items per site, dropping from an average of 17 items last year.

Miscellaneous Items

Miscellaneous items were the second largest source of rubbish in 2005 - representing 17% of the total rubbish surveyed. This is the same as last year when miscellaneous rubbish accounted for 17% of total rubbish surveyed.

Parks/waterfronts had the highest number of miscellaneous items. The results for outdoor transport sites and shops/malls was skewed due to a small sample size.

As has been the case in previous years, cigarette butts made up the vast majority of miscellaneous item found. This year they accounted for 86% of items in the miscellaneous category, down from 90% in 2004.