688 Ute Loads of Litter and Counting

Tasmania’s three regional Waste Management Groups are encouraging everyone to celebrate 30 years of community action against litter by joining a clean-up team on Clean Up Australia Day this Sunday 3 March.

Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group member, Michael Attard, said that volunteers in last year’s Clean Up Australia Day helped remove the equivalent of 688 ute loads of rubbish from Tasmanian parks, streets and beaches and momentum was growing to do more in 2019.

“Local councils across Tasmania have witnessed a jump in community involvement in how waste is managed. Rising community awareness is driving community expectations around waste management, recycling, litter and marine debris,” Michael said. “Waste is moving from being someone else’s problem to become a hot topic where individuals are recognising the consequences of their actions – from what they buy through to how items are re-used, recycled or safely discarded.”

Clean Up Australia Day is the nation’s largest community-based environmental event, established by Ian Kiernan AO in 1989. There were an estimated 25,000 volunteers collecting litter at Tasmanian clean-up sites last year, up from around 17,000 in 2017.

Although the number of clean up volunteers has grown, some common litter items continue to be a problem across the state.

“Discarded metal and plastics were the biggest sources of rubbish collected in Tasmania last year, with alcoholic and soft drink cans making up the largest number of individual items,” said Michael.
“When looking at the grouped data, beverage containers as a category were the largest at just over 37% of all collected rubbish. States with well-established container deposit schemes such as South Australia report beverage litter at only 10% by comparison.”

“It was encouraging, however, to see a 21% drop in the volume of glass collected last year and an 8% reduction in paper. These items are easily recycled in kerbside bins or at Waste Transfer Stations and so should never end up as litter.”

Participants can register to take part in Clean Up Australia Day and find a local event at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au.

What litter did you find this Clean Up Australia Day?

Tasmania’s three Waste Management Groups are searching for the state’s most common litter items so they can make them the focus of future waste reduction education programs.

If you are volunteering in this weekend’s Clean Up Australia Day event (4 March), the Groups would appreciate you being their eyes on the ground across Tasmania and reporting back the biggest litter items in a quick Facebook poll.

The poll will be available at www.facebook.com/rethinkwastetasmania from 3 March.

More than 500 tonnes of rubbish are typically removed from the Tasmanian environment on Clean Up Australia Day, creating a great opportunity to collect data and get a snapshot of the main litter culprits.

David from Waste Strategy South says: “Food packaging and beverage containers made up more than half the collected litter in the last Clean Up Australia survey.
We’re keen to know if that’s changed with the rising profile of issues such as plastic pollution in our oceans and the harm caused by land-based litter ending up in our waterways.
Getting an early insight to the main litter items from Clean Up Australia Day participants will help us shape future programs that are most relevant to the issues we have here.”

Clean Up Australia Day is the nation’s largest community-based environmental event, running since 1989. Volunteers have contributed more than 32 million hours to litter-collection in the annual event, removing over 344 thousand tonnes of rubbish!

If you’d like to help out on Clean Up Australia Day and join a local event visit: www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au

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recycling in order to decrease the amount of waste that ends up as landfill.
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