Litter composition by density

The graphs in this section show the composition of litter density data recorded by the study in 2021–22, reported as the number of items per 1000m2.

Most-littered items

Confectionary wrappers, snack bags and straws are the top two litter items, accounting for nearly a quarter of all litter.

The top 10 items account for 56% of all litter items.

Litter by category

All items have been aggregated into similar categories, based on how they are used and consumed. Using these categories helps inform program and policy responses 

The takeaway and beverage and confectionary and snacks categories account for over 50% of all litter items.

Litter by material

About 82% of the litter is plastic. It should be noted that the study was carried out in estuaries. Plastic litter is likely to predominate in an estuarine environment because paper-based litter is susceptible to breaking up, and heavy litter, such as metal and glass, is more likely to sink. Land-based litter measures such as the National Litter Index, indicate that paper items can make up to 40% of the litter stream.