More than 1,460 pieces of litter picked up by Council staff in 45 mins

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Twenty-nine staff from Byron Shire Council picked up more than 1,460 pieces of litter weighing 55 kilograms in a 45 minute trawl through Mullumbimby’s CBD.

Council’s Waste team coordinated the event as a quick, easy and effective way of getting some litter off the streets of Mullumbimby before it ended up in the Brunswick River.

Zoe White, Council’s Waste Education and Compliance Officer, said while there were some larger items such as a piece of carpet and a broken bumper bar, the most common items were micro litter such as cigarette butts, bottle tops, and soft plastics.

When the litter was separated there were 586 cigarette butts and more than 350 bits of soft plastic

“It was quite staggering to see the amount that was collected in three quarters of an hour in one block of the Mullumbimby CBD,” Ms White said.

“Not only was it a great learning experience for some of our staff, but the data we collected will be used when we talk to visitors, students, businesses and community groups in town,” she said.

“With this sort of evidence we can develop strategies and campaigns such as Butt Free Byron Shire to target certain areas or hotspots, and key littered items we are finding.

“The ultimate winner at the end of the day is the environment because the litter we picked up will not go into the river and flow into the ocean where it can harm marine life and nor will it be able to be picked up by birds,” Ms White said.

A breakdown of the litter included:

  • 1,021 plastic items (including 586 cigarette butts)
  • 213 paper/ cardboard items
  • 95 metal items

“When we looked at the plastic items many were single-use things such as straws, cutlery, face masks and coffee cups that we could easily switch over for reusables,” Ms White said.

“The best way to keep litter off our streets is to not let it get there in the first place so BYO things like cups and cutlery,” she said.

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