The 2018 Clean Up Australia Rubbish Report, compiled each year from data submitted by South Australian Clean Up volunteers, found that although there was improvement in many areas, food packaging was reported in higher quantities than the national average.

Plastic continues to be the #1 type of rubbish reported across the state.

Terrie-Ann Johnson, Managing Director of Clean Up Australia, warns that plastic – a material type that will not decompose, will, unless we take action today, continue to impact our environment, our natural heritage and ultimately human health.

Thirty years ago, Ian Kiernan AO predicted the problems that single-use plastics would pose. Since then we have seen ever-increasing dependence on plastic as a throw-away item – and that needs to change. The choice is simple – take action or plastics will continue to be a problem well into the future,” said Terrie-Ann.

Food packaging, as a percentage of all rubbish reported by South Australian clean up volunteers increased by 8.3 % in 2018.

Comprising take away containers, food, chip & confectionery wrappers – this trend is alarming because it outstrips national counts by 3%.

The 2018 Report directly supports the need for us all to think about how we can switch from single use packaging.

“Change starts with you – and we need to make smarter choices every day,” said Terrie-Ann.

“We need to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce as individuals and take simple actions such as replacing single use beverage cups and containers and choosing products that are not over packaged.”

Smokers also need to get smarter with cigarette butts coming up as the item most counted by Clean Up volunteers at 12.3% of the individual item count. While a welcome decrease of 9.2% over the previous year, its timely to remind smokers how cigarette butts impact our environment.

“Smokers need to understand that the core of most cigarette filters is a form of plastic called cellulose acetate which is very slow to degrade, taking anything from 18 months to 10 years to break up. These filters are also full of toxins, which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come into contact with them,” said Terrie-Ann.

“We all need to take responsibility for our choices.”

Parks were the most popular site surveyed in 2018, also recording the highest percentage of total waste and average number of items across the state.

“We still have a way to go to Clean Up Australia, so remember change starts with you!”

Clean Up Australia Day
3 March 2019

Business Clean Up Day
26 February 2019

Schools Clean Up Day
1 March 2019


To register or join a 2019 Clean Up site go to: