2020-21 litter data for NSW

These results are findings from the NSW Key Littered Items Study (KLIS) for 2020–21. They provide insight into the composition of litter found in estuaries along the NSW coast and details progress towards NSW litter reduction targets.

High-level findings

  • The number of littered items has reduced by 22% since 2019–20 (from 158 items per 1,000 m2 to 123 items per 1,000 m2).
  • The volume of litter has reduced by 14% since 2019–20 (from 12.76 litres per 1,000 m2 to 10.98 litres).
  • The number of plastic littered items has reduced by 25% since 2019–20 (from 138 items per 1,000 m2 to 103 items per 1,000 m2).
  • The volume of plastic litter has reduced by 8% since 2019–20 (from 7.68 litres per 1,000 m2 to 7.05 litres).
  • By category, takeaway and beverage items (31.93%) are the biggest contributor to litter items in NSW, followed by confectionary and snacks (22.84%).
  • CDS eligible beverage containers (37.31%) are the biggest contributor to litter volume, followed by takeaway and beverage items (32.07%).
  • Confectionary wrappers and snack bags (19.6%) were found to be the most-littered item, followed by straws (10.46%).
  • By material, plastic items accounted for the largest number of items (81.48%) and volume (58.46%).

Progress towards litter reduction targets

Target 1: 30% reduction in plastic litter items by 2025

In 2020–21 plastic litter items had reduced by 35% since the baseline year (2018–19).

This result suggests that the 2025 target has already been achieved. However, litter data is inherently variable and a single year’s figures should be treated with caution, particularly as COVID-19 lockdowns may have reduced littering. Long-term trend data will provide a more accurate picture.

Target 2: 60% reduction in all litter items by 2030

In 2020–21 all litter items had reduced by 35% since the baseline year (2018–19).

As noted above, long-term trend data is required to provide a more accurate assessment of progress towards this target.

Progress towards NSW litter targets: litter items per 1,000 m2

 

Progress towards NSW litter targets: litter items per 1,000 m2

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