National Litter Index

The National Litter Index

The 2017/18 report can be read here.

You can also read the Minister's media release here

National Litter Index 2016/17
According to the 2016/17 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index (NLI), Western Australia has achieved a 22.7 per cent reduction in littered items across the State and a  31.7 per cent reduction in the volume of litter recorded. This is the biggest one-year reduction since the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index (NLI) started in 2006.

The NLI  is Australia’s only national, annual, quantitative measure of what litter occurs where and in what volume based on counts taken twice a year at 1,059 sites across Australia representing 9 site types.  In Western Australia, there were 151 sites within 50 kilometres of the CBD in 2016-17.

The National Litter Index has been undertaken since November 2005 and is done in all states and Territories in Australia.

What's counted?

Litter items are counted under seven material type categories including cigarette butts, glass, illegal dumping, metal, miscellaneous, paper/paperboard, and plastic.. The litter is also analysed according to eight different site types including residential, beach, industrial, car park, shopping centre, retail, recreational park and highway.

Litter statistics for Western Australia

The 2016-17 Keep Australia Beautiful NLI has returned very postive results for Western Australia.  

By item, six site types experienced a reduction in litter, including shopping centres (down 16.4%), car parks (down 19.8%) and industrial areas (down 14.1%) . Beaches and Recreational Parks experienced increases in litter of 3.7% and 40.2 % respectively.

By volume, six site types experienced a reduction in litter including car parks (down 15.4%), highways (down 27.5%), industrial areas (down 16.2%), residential (down 69.5%) , retail areas (down 68.7%) and shopping centres (down 42.1%). recreational areas such as parks (down 53%).  

WA Litter by number of items and volume

NLI stats

2016/17 NLI: Key messages and insights 

  • 22.7% less litter than counted in the 2015-16 audit.
  • Reductions in cigarette litter (-35.1%), takeaway food packaging (-14.8%), other paper (-17.5%), other plastic (-20.4%) and general other (-20.8%) were the main contributors to the significant fall in litter recorded.
  • Mix shifts in litter monitored resulted in the volumetric equivalent falling by 31.7%.
  • Less litter recorded in car parks (-19.8%), highways (-20.6%), industrial precincts (-14.1%), residential streets (-28.2%), retail precincts (-53.8%) and shopping centres (-16.6%). The most significant increases were recorded at recreational parks (+40.3%) and on beaches (+3.7%).
  • Industrial precincts recorded the highest loads on an item counted basis whereas major roads/highways recorded the highest loads on a volumetric basis 

WA Top littered items


WA Most littered-by items

  1. Cigarette butts
  2. Other paper*      
  3. Other plastic**
  4. Metal Flav. water/soft drink, (carbonated), all sizes
  5. Cups/take away containers
  6. Snack bags & confectionary wrappers
  7. Clothing & materials
  8. Beer, all colours of glass, <750ml
  9. Metal bottle tops and can pull rings
  10. Drinking straws

* Other paper = all paper other than: junk mail /newspapers/magazines/packages & boxes/paper bags/shopper dockets & related shopping paper. eg, lists/tickets etc.

** Other plastic = all plastic other than: plastic bags/containers /packing tape & straps/bottle tops/ Snack bags & confectionary wrappers/cutlery/straws/styrene foam boxes, sheets/take away & cups


The 2016/17 litter monitor of 151 sites across WA recorded 22.7% less litter than counted in 2015/16 monitor. All major categories experienced falls in litter levels, with significant decreases seen in cigarette litter, takeaway food packaging, other paper, other plastic and general other litter items.