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30 Littering Facts That Will Shock You

Published in category
by All Gone Admin
Woman collecting litter bottles

Littering is a global problem affecting everyone on our planet—humans, plants, animals, and the environment. We see pieces of litter everywhere, including parks, schools, and almost any street. 

They come in different forms, including candy wrappers, plastic bags, and drink cans. But it doesn't end in land. Trillions of waste debris also exist in our oceans, according to litter reports. 

If this doesn’t convince you to stop littering, here are 30 littering facts about its impact, along with littering statistics and ways you can help reduce this harmful practice.  

1. Littering Is Costly.

Besides getting a fine for littering, it costs you and the government money to clean it up. In fact, there's a $350 million budget step up from the Federal government to update the recycling infrastructure of Australia. 

The allocated fund aims to improve the country's waste management system and reduce the overall environmental impact. By practising responsible disposal of plastic litter, cigarette butts, food packaging, and others, we can save a good amount of money. 

2. Litter Lowers Property Value

When your property area has pieces of litter everywhere, it will be unsightly. It also decreases the appeal of your home and ultimately lowers its value. 

According to the National Association of Home Builders, litter can decrease property value in commercial and residential areas. Moreover, it reduces the chance of attracting potential buyers and lowers sales numbers. 

To avoid the impact of littered items on your property, it’s important to improve littering behavior. Instead of waiting another day to clean wrappers or plastic bottles in your area, pick them up and dispose of them properly. 

3. Litter Affects Farming

When people litter on farms, harmful chemicals from metals, plastics, and other waste products can enter the soil. These toxins can be absorbed by plants and cause them to grow slowly or even die. 

As a result, farmers get smaller harvests, making the crops unsafe to eat. Litter can also hinder beneficial microbes and the natural balance of nutrients, harming the crop. 

4. Litter Kills Marine Life

According to UN Environment, around 15% of marine litter floats in the ocean, another 15% stays in the water column, and 70% rests on the seabed. 

Given its numbers, litter can pose a severe threat to marine life. Like the most littered item—plastics—any waste materials can cause marine creatures like turtles and fish to get tangled or poisoned, leading to their death in the worst cases. 

5. Littering Is a Fire Hazard

Tobacco products make up over one-third of the current litter. If you drop a lit cigarette into a dry ground, this can cause a forest fire. 

On top of that, cigarettes contain toxic chemicals like lead and, arsenic, cadmium, which contribute to the environment's pollution. If children or animals ingest cigarette butts, they can be poisoned.

6. It Encourages Animal Attacks

Littering, especially with food debris, can attract animals. Food waste, for instance, can attract rats, racoons, and other hungry wildlife. 

These creatures can become more aggressive and bolder over time when they get used to finding food in litter. The presence of these mammals can also lead to other issues, like diseases and property damage. 

7 It Threatens Road Safety

Littering can threaten road users, especially if punctures and other sharp objects are littering the road. It can cause tyre punctures or compromise road safety.

Moreover, large pieces of litter on the roadside can cause collisions. They can also block drain gates, waterways, and roadways, which can cause floods on the road. 

8. Litter Attracts Pests and Diseases

Food waste litter in communities can increase the chances of diseases. Food waste in the streets can serve as the breeding ground for harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can cause sickness. 

Community clean-ups and proper waste management efforts are necessary to ease health risks and protect taxpayers from the costs of medical treatments. You can do your part by helping in clean-ups or ensuring your own area is clean and litter-free. 

9. Litter Compromises People’s Health

Littered areas are breeding grounds for sickness-causing bacteria and viruses. These pose health risks to both residents and visitors. 

In addition, litter, such as consumer waste, gasoline runoff, and polluted water, can contaminate the soil and waterways, leading to pollution and possible waterborne disease. The composition of litter, like food packaging materials, contributes to the spread of sickness and compromises public health.

10. Plastic Litter Are Mostly Found in Schools

School environments are not free from the effects of littering, with plastic waste being the leading issue. Discarded wrappers, plastic bottles, and food packaging are some of the litter found on the school grounds of some schools. 

According to the Clean Up Australia National Rubbish Report data, volunteers have picked up 79% of litter on school grounds.

11. Plastics Make up Most Littered Rubbish

Plastics are everywhere. According to the Clean Up Australia National Rubbish Report data, plastics are the most picked up waste by volunteers. 

Plastics constitute a huge part of littered rubbish found in parks, streets, and waterways, contributing to environmental pollution. Compared to the previous year is report findings, the number of soft plastics increased by 34%, which is alarming. Since 1991, Clean Up Australia's annual Litter Report, which now covers litter collected during a financial year, highlights this growing issue.

12. Litter Spoils Water Quality

When trash gets tossed near or into the waterways, it can contaminate the waters, harming many marine species, plants, and animals. The litter travels downstream and ultimately ends up in the ocean. 

Do your part to help solve this issue simply by not littering. Put trash in the right bins, and do not leave your trash next to or on top of an overflowing trash can.

13. Littering Can Carry Germs, Bacteria, and Viruses

When food waste and other organic materials are thrown in any area, they can become breeding grounds for viruses, bacteria, and germs. These types of waste attract different pests, such as rodents and flies, which are unsightly and unsanitary.

To avoid this from happening, make sure you throw your trash and food waste properly. 

14. Litter Can Hinder the Economic Development of a Community

Seeing polluted environments and pieces of litter everywhere in a community is unpleasant. These reduce quality of life and lower property values.

Understandably, these hinder businesses, potential investors and tourists from visiting or investing. To solve these issues, get help from a trusted local junk and rubbish service. 

15. Most Willful Litterers Belong to the Age Group of 18 and 34

Age can be a significant factor in littering. According to research, youngsters ages 12 to 14 and those over 50 are most likely to litter. 

Given these demographics, we can target the right people to change the littering behaviours of those who usually litter. As a part of a community, you can send invites for clean-ups to these ages near you to help the environment. 

16. Littering is Illegal

Littering is harmful and illegal in many countries. In Australia, there are strict regulations about it, where you can pay up to $250 for littering in a public or private place. 

Do you find that expensive? That's just a scratch on the surface because the maximum fine for the guilty party is $2,200 if taken to court

Litterers can also be fined a maximum of $5,000 for individuals and a whopping $10,000 for corporations. A smoker can be fined $200 for cigarette butt; however, this can escalate to $500 for lit cigarettes and other dangerous litter. 

17. It Doesn’t Look Nice

When you see streets littered with debris and trash, you will feel unwelcome and repulsed. These things also reduce the overall aesthetic appeal of your home or community. 

Tourists, businesses and potential investors will turn away. However, you and the people of your community can help clean up the mess in your surroundings. 

If the task is too big for everyone, you can contact your local rubbish removal service provider in Australia to do it for the community. 

18. People on the Move Are More Likely to Litter

People who are travelling or on the move are most likely to litter because of the inconvenience of finding a trash can and the lack of accountability. 

Disposable items like beverage containers, food wrappers, and cigarette butts are usually tossed out of vehicles or thrown in public spaces. Implementing anti-littering campaigns targeting travellers and commuters is important to help reduce this widespread issue. 

19. People Are Less Likely to Litter in Clean Areas

When a place is clean, it won’t likely attract any rubbish. Most people litter only in areas with existing trash and debris, respecting the cleanliness of the area.

According to Wesley Schultz, a social Psychologist at California State University in America, people litter for practical reasons. For instance, he found that if the trash can is placed far away, people are more likely to throw their trash on the ground. 

20. Litter Decomposition Takes a Long Time

Litter decomposition varies and usually takes a long time. For instance, an apple core can decompose for around two weeks and tissue papers for a month.

However, plastics thrown in the sea can only fully break down for 450 years! Can you imagine the impact it has on marine life and the environment in general? 

21. Men Are More Likely to Litter

According to research, men are more likely to litter than men because they want to protect their gender identity. This is because being environmentally conscious is said to be associated with femininity. 

Though we may think there's nothing wrong with that, men think differently. They always want to be seen as solid, so they usually steer away from things that suggest femininity.

22. Ignorance and Laziness Are the Top Reasons Why People Litter

When we feel lazy, we don't like to do anything or move an extra step—even if it's only throwing the trash properly. Besides that, people litter simply because there are no trash bins nearby. 

Some people choose to leave trash behind rather than carry it with them because it's much easier. To help create a solution, you can contact your local officials to install more trash receptacles. 

It would also help to put up signs like "NO LITTERING," according to Psychology professor Robert Cialdini. 

23. People Hate Litter but Often Do Nothing About It

We hate trash, but sometimes, we do nothing about it. For instance, when was the last time you picked up pieces of litter you have seen around the neighbourhood?

It could be years ago, or you just shrug it off because you think it’s none of your business. Understandably, it’s not just you and me; many of us do this. 

24. Littering Worsens Flooding Incidents

Different types of litter, like plastic bottles, drink containers, food packaging and a lot more, can clog the drains and sewers. This can lead to increased flooding, posing serious public safety risks. 

Litter can also alter landscapes, reducing the ground's ability to absorb water and increasing surface runoff. In New South Wales (NSW), drink containers account for 44% of litter. To combat this, the state, in partnership with the beverage industry, developed the Return and Earn scheme, offering consumers 10 cents for returning drink containers in good condition. 

These measures highlight the importance of efficient waste disposal and drainage systems to minimise flooding in both rural and urban areas. 

25. Food Packaging Materials Make up Almost Half of All Municipal Solid Waste

Food packaging materials comprise almost half of all municipal solid waste. Unfortunately, most of this packaging is for single-use only and is usually thrown away rather than recycled. 

According to 2014 data, 258 million tons of municipal solid waste are from the United States of America, and 63% of them are packaging materials. Overall, only 35% or 89 million tons were recycled.

26. Litters Are Unpleasant to All Senses

Rubbish attracts the attention of your senses for all the wrong reasons. It presents an undesirable smell and unpleasant visuals and can affect the environment, which can also affect you and the community in the long run. 

For instance, decomposing organic matter can emit nasty smells that attract pests like flies and rats. This greatly reduces the quality of life in the area and can cause you to get sick. 

27. Millions of Tons of Litter Are Dumped Into the Ocean Each Year

Each day, the equivalent of 2,000 garbage trucks of plastics are thrown into the rivers, lakes, and oceans, making plastic pollution a global problem. According to the UN Environment Programme, 19 to 33 million tonnes of plastic waste leaks into marine ecosystems, polluting the seas, rivers and oceans. 

If our waste management practices do not improve, it is estimated that by 2040, 29 million tons of litter could end up in the oceans. The higher volume production of litter-generating products is one contributing factor to the rising litter count.

28. Cigarette Butts Make up Over Half of Littered Objects

Given the 13.9 million active cigarette smokers, cigarette butts make up over half of the littered objects at around 30 to 40%. Out of the 6 trillion produced each year, 2.5 trillion of them wind up on our beaches, waterways and forests. 

29. It Contributes to Pollution

When people litter, the trash they throw away, like plastics, releases toxic chemicals into the environment. Plastics and microplastics, for instance, release a gas called methane, which can harm the air and the environment. 

30. It’s Free To Be Kind to the Environment

When we think of it deeply, we are the most affected by these facts and littering statistics. We are playing both the villain and the hero at the same time. 

We humans are the reason littering happens, and we can also be the solution to solve, heightened awareness or at least reduce the littering problems we are facing. You can do your part by ensuring your home or commercial rubbish removal is managed responsibly and professionally.

To do that, consider recycling and asking local rubbish professionals like All Gone Rubbish Removals—your go-to guy for the best rubbish and removal service in Sydney, Central Coast, Gosford and Newcastle. With our affordable, efficient, and customer-friendly rubbish removal services, we can help you keep the environment litter-free!

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