Alex Dalland

This year’s Keep Australia Beautiful week focuses on cigarette butts, with cigarette butts making up almost 45 per cent of litter according to the latest National Litter Index survey.

However, rather than simply encouraging smokers to “do the right thing”, Keep Australia Beautiful has launched a new initiative allowing smokers to “vote” on a range of topics with specially-designed ballot cigarette butt bins – smokers having their say on questions like “Who would win in a fight: Emu or Kangaroo?” or “Favourite breakfast food: Bacon or Tofu?”

“Cigarette butts are no small problem,” CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful, Philip Robinson, says.

“Litter is in our hands, and we want to bring the issue of cigarette butts to the forefront. They are Australia’s most littered item, with seven billion of them dropped every year.”

The estimated seven billion cigarette butts means that almost 30 per cent of the 24 billion cigarettes sold end up as pollution. Over 90 per cent of reports in New South Wales of littering from a vehicle are regarding cigarette butts.

The news is not all bad according to Robinson, as the rate of litter has dropped significantly, but there is always room for improvement.

“The 2015/16 NLI Survey found nine per cent less litter than in the same period last year. This is no small feat, and we applaud Australians who do the right thing and use the right bin,” Robinson says.

“Litter is everyone’s problem. We all need to work together to tackle litter.”

Keep Australia Beautiful Week runs from Monday 22 August until August 28.