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Three years of Auckland’s littering behaviour exposed

Press Release – Tidy Kiwi Campaign

Data covering three years of littering behaviour and the things that influence it are now available, the Auckland Litter Prevention Steering Group (ALPSG) said today.

Data covering three years of littering behaviour and the things that influence it are now available, the Auckland Litter Prevention Steering Group (ALPSG) said today.

“Eighty locations in Auckland have been surveyed annually for litter and members of the public have been asked to share their views about litter and being a tidy kiwi,” Richard Leckinger, ALPSG Programme Manager said.

The Clean Communities Assessment Tool (CCAT) is an environmental monitoring tool for measuring the causes and incidence of littering in a given area. Efforts at litter prevention are measured by rating landscaping, bin design, maintenance and servicing, as well as other features within the control of owners or caretakers that influence littering, bin use and litter accumulation.

“We’ve observed a 29% littering rate for Aucklanders, which is not good news,” Mr Leckinger said.

“On the plus side, Aucklanders are quite honest about their litter offending, which is unusual and gives us hope that behaviour can change.”

“Auckland’s CCAT (infrastructure and binfrastructure) scores are pretty good, while its observed littering behaviour rate is quite poor. What this tells us is that council is going the extra mile to clean up after us. This surely comes at a financial cost to ratepayers, on top of the environmental cost of littering.”

“Cigarette butts and gum dominate the counts of what gets littered in our busy public places, with paper, foil and plastic film wrappers following behind.”

“As a single use plastic, cigarette butts bring the total single-use plastic percentage to 39%, while total plastics make up 41% of what we count.”

“Over the three years, residents’ pride in their public places has been steadily rising.”

“Council’s success in educating residents about sorting and recycling at home has dramatically increased their expectations outside the home. Public expectations for binfrastructure are increasing faster than council’s ability to provide, despite the evidence that Auckland’s binfrastructure has
improved steadily.”

“The Be A Tidy Kiwi programme will need to address the challenge of aligning community behaviour and perceptions about littering, particularly in relation to smaller items such as cigarette butts and gum. Cigarette butts in particular are often typically not viewed as being litter by those who drop them,” Mr Leckinger said.

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