To understand butt littering behaviour it is important to have a good understanding of littering behaviour more generally.
Littering is a complex behaviour and people tend not to fall easily into stereotypical categories of either 'litterer' or 'nonlitterer'.
Some people will only litter a certain type of item, such as a cigarette butt but not a drink can, for instance. Many people will litter in some places, and not in others: for example, dropping a cigarette butt in a car park or on a street, but not at a beach or in a nature park. Others may litter a butt outside a shopping centre, but walk to put a can in a recycling bin and a food wrapper in a rubbish bin.
Reasons given for littering are many and varied: "too lazy", "don't care", "someone else will pick it up", "didn't realise I was doing it", "something else was already dropped there" and "there was no bin" being some of the more common.
One of the best known pieces of litter research in Australia is Community Change's Understanding Littering Behaviour in Australia for the Beverage Industry Environment Council (BIEC) in 1997.
BIEC (now part of the Packaging Stewardship Forum – Australian Food & Grocery Council) also provided funding for Community Change to undertake Littering Behaviour Benchmark Studies until 2004.
So a lot of research has been done on littering, both in Australia and internationally. Type 'litter research' into any search engine and you'll soon get the idea!
Butt Free Australia cannot hope to capture it all, but seeks to provide a meaningful overview that will be helpful for anyone interested in further understanding the issue of litter.
- Keep Australia Beautiful:
National Litter Index, Branded Litter Research and Local litter counts
- Clean Up Australia:
Cigarette butts fact sheet
- Victorian Litter Action Alliance:
Cigarette butt litter statistics
- South Australia:
KESAB environmental solutions Litter Surveys
- New South Wales:
EPA NSW Litter research
- Packaging Stewardship Forum:
Litter Behaviour Studies – (1997 – 2004)
- Community Change:
Environmental and community psychology
- Fostering Sustainable Behaviour:
Community Based Social Marketing
- Australian Capital Territory:
- Northern Territory:
Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport
Department of Environment and Resource Management
- Western Australia:
Litter Abatement Strategy for WA – Environment Division (2004)
Sustainability Victoria, Victorian Litter Strategy