The 2018 Clean Up Australia Rubbish Report, compiled each year from data submitted by Clean Up volunteers, found that plastics and food packaging are still the Number One problem items across the country.
Plastic was once again the major type of rubbish reported by volunteers, comprising 39% of rubbish surveyed, up 4% on last year reflecting our increasing reliance on single use plastics.
Pip Kiernan, new Chairman and daughter of Clean Up Australia’s founder, Ian Kiernan AO, urges all Australians to take up the challenge and continue her father’s legacy.
“The work our volunteers do under the banner of Clean Up Australia is more important than ever, said Pip Kiernan.
“Our increasingly throwaway society, over packaging and some people’s expectations that others will clean up after us are issues we can’t ignore.
“Thirty years ago my dad predicted the problems that single-use plastic would pose,” she said.
“Since then we have seen ever increasing dependence on plastic as a throw away-item – and that needs to change.
“There has never been a better time to band together to reverse our dependence.
“The choice is simple – take action or plastics will continue to be a problem well into the future,” said Kiernan.
Litter directly associated with single use packaging continues to be a major source of rubbish reported by volunteers. In 2018, it was as high as 88% of all reported items.
Of this, food packaging represented just under 19%, non-food packaging over 26%, beverage containers 18%, beverage rubbish 11.8%, chip and confectionery wrappers recorded 7% and plastic bags 4.5%.
“It’s time to take action and make the right environmental choices every day,” said Kiernan.
“We need to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce as individuals and take simple steps such as having our beverage of choice in re-useable cups and choosing products that are not pre-packaged,” she said.
Plastic straws made an unwelcome return to the Top 10 individual items coming in at number 4, representing 4.1% of all surveyed rubbish and 10.7% of plastic items.