Main material types littered

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Key finding

Cigarette butts are the most common type of litter although they make up only a very small fraction of the total volume of litter. Glass is the least prevalent litter type; there is a relatively high number and volume of plastic waste items.

The National Litter Index provides estimates of litter by material type.

The average number and volume of all types of litter is higher at Queensland sites than the Australian average, with the exception of large items and the volume of glass. (‘Large items’ are called ‘illegal dumping’ in the National Litter Index, but are too small to meet the definition of illegal dumping in Queensland. They include items such as e-waste and bags of rubbish.)

The proportion of cigarette butts and non-cigarette litter is similar for Queensland and Australia across all site types and there was no obvious difference in the types of litter present across different site types.

  • Cigarette butts are the most frequently identified item although they make up only a small proportion of total volume of waste.
  • Paper and plastics are the next most frequently identified items. They also contribute relatively high volumes.
  • Glass is the least prevalent litter item, with low numbers and volume of glass items recorded. A lower volume but higher number of glass items was recorded in Queensland than Australia, due to a higher proportion of small glass items in Queensland.
  • Fewer large items were recorded in Queensland.

More information:

Indicator: Comparison between Queensland and national average for main material types littered

Number and volume of litter items per 1000m2 by litter type for Queensland and Australia, 2005-2006 to 2013-2014 (data from the National Litter Index).

Download data from Queensland Government data