Cigarette Butt Litter Count

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altThe number of cigarette butts in the litter stream has gone down according to the 2010-11 National Litter Index (NLI) released today by Keep Australia Beautiful National to coincide with the start of Keep Australia Beautiful Week.

A total of 29 butts per 1000m² were found in 2010-11, compared to 32 in 2009-10 and a high of 35 butts in 2006-07.

Butts still remain the most numerous individual item by number in the litter stream, followed by   plastics with 12 items per 1,000m² and paper with 11 items.

Overall litter was down at 61 items per 1,000m² in 2010-11, compared to 66 items in 2009-10 and a high of 74 items in 2006-07. 

The overall volume of litter also decreased recording 6.49 litres per 1,000m² in 2010-11, down from 7.55 litres in 2009-10 and a high of 9.68 litres in 2006-07.

Overall butts represent only a very small volume of litter, just 0.003 litres per 1000m², and while down from 0.004m² in 2009-10 due to their small size the volume has varied very little over the life of the National Litter Index.

Commenting on the results, CEO of Butt Free Australia Wendy Jones said ‘It‘s good news overall for butts particularly as the long term average is trending downwards and proves that we are making slow but steady progress’.

‘Of course there is still a lot of variance between states with Victoria (18), ACT (23) and South Australia (23) coming in below the national average while Western Australia (32),New South Wales (33) and Queensland (41) were all above.’

‘Disappointingly what we hoped was a one off unusually high count in Tasmania last year (56) was nearly matched again with 53 butts per 1,000m² while the Northern Territory recorded an exceptional low count of 15 due possibly to the exceptional wet conditions experienced over the year’ Jones said.

In its efforts to address butt litter, Butt Free Australia will continue with its ‘Not a Good Look’ campaign over the coming months  ensuring that personal responsibility is kept to the forefront of the butt littering issue while highlighting the environmental consequences of butt litter.

‘The response to the Not a Good Look campaign over the past year has been really encouraging ‘ Jones said. ‘And with our re-developed campaign website and new Facebook page the message is really starting to cut through’.

‘By providing tools such as personal ashtrays, posters for workplaces and information on how to report littering, the Not a Good Look campaign is not just a powerful message but an effective tool for taking action’.

‘We encourage everyone to visit and learn more about the problems and myths associated with butt litter and find out how you can help create a Butt FREE Australia’ Jones added.

Keep Australia Beautiful Week with its theme ‘Dropped on Land, Kills at Sea’ highlights the growing threat to marine and coastal environments and the harm caused to marine mammals and other wildlife by litter and runs until Sunday 28 August.

For further information or media interview, please contact  Wendy Jones – CEO Butt Free Australia on mobile  0418 172 400 

For further information about Butt Free Australia visit or

For further information on the National Litter Index or Keep Australia Beautiful Week visit