National Litter Audit 2019

In 2016, over 190,000 tonnes of litter was collected from the streets of New Zealand by approximately 86,000 Keep New Zealand Beautiful volunteers. Motivated by this and with the support of the New Zealand Government, we carried out a national litter audit in 2019 which compiled data through the physical inspection and visual counting of litter in a number of specific, fixed sites.

The information collected provides data on the quantities, types, locations, and brands of litter deposited across the country.

The National Litter Audit was developed in consultation with Statistics New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for the Environment. It provides tier 1 statistics and baseline data on litter across New Zealand to help inform policy development, and will provide the basis for ongoing environmental reporting on litter.

Key findings

  • Cigarette butts were the most frequently identified item nationally, with 39 butts recorded per 1000m2.
  • Disposable nappies represented the largest contribution to the estimated national litter volumes, recording 1.50 ltr of volume per 1,000 m2.
  • Glass beer bottles (less than 750 ml, all colours) represented the largest contribution to the national litter weights, recording 0.12 kg of weight per 1,000 m2.
  • Illegal dumping contributed the largest proportion to the total estimated litter volume at highway and railway sites nationally, recording 17.36 ltr per 1,000 m2 and 11.93 ltr of volume per 1,000 m2 respectively.

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National Litter Audit 2019 7 MB 134 downloads