Research plays an important role in guiding the work of organisations such as Butt Free Australia.
This is clearly reflected in the Trust Deed that governs Butt Free Australia's operations. It identifies one of the key purposes of the organisation as the "...promotion, examination and evaluation of research and innovation, and for educational initiatives, that will directly or indirectly reduce cigarette butt litter and cigarette butt littering in Australia".
Butt Free Australia commissions its own research, such as our recent Understanding Attitudes & Behaviours Behind Cigarette Butt Littering. We also draw on relevant research conducted by external organisations to help shape our Butt FREE projects and other initiatives.
Having a thorough understanding of the butt littering problem is central to finding solutions on how to prevent it. Understanding how butt littering sits within the 'big picture' of littering is also extremely important.
Data and research on litter, including butt litter, is generally either behavioural – trying to answer the question "why do people litter and what would stop them?" – or statistical – based on the amount of litter in the environment and quantifying just how much litter is out there.
A good example of research based on the behavioural aspects of littering is the Victorian Litter Report, which uses methodology known as CCAT – the Clean Communities Assessment Tool. CCAT, developed by Community Change, provides data that looks at characteristics that influence littering behaviours, together with indicators of disposal behaviour.
A key source of litter data in Australia is the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index, known as the NLI. The National Litter Index provides information about the relative presence or absence of litter objects and particular material types across Australia through a bi-annual count. It is used extensively by governments and community organisations to inform policies and programs that reduce litter and foster community pride.
Research conducted by both Butt Free Australia and external bodies is included on this site. Butt Free Australia makes no warranty or representation about the accuracy, suitability or completeness of any of the work in this research section, and does not necessarily endorse any of the results or views put forward. The intention is to provide an easy and accessible central source of information for those interested in addressing the problem of cigarette butt littering.