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Main material types littered

Key finding

Cigarette butts, while contributing a very small fraction to litter volume, are the most common type of litter.  Glass is the least prevalent litter type. Plastic waste items are high in number and volume.

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

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

The proportion of cigarette butts and non-cigarette litter is similar for Queensland and Australia across all site types and there is 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 contribute relatively high volumes.
  • Glass is the least prevalent litter item, with low numbers and volume of glass items recorded.
  • 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 2016–2017 (data from the National Litter Index).

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 12 February 2020