Litter surveys and audits

Litter surveying and auditing form a critical part of researching a litter issue and monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of programs.

There are a number of litter surveying and auditing resources, each with a different purpose and target audience. For this reason it is important to understand the kind of data required so the right resource can be selected.

The following are the key litter surveying and auditing resources used in Victoria:


Local Litter Measurement Toolkit (LLMT), VLAA

The LLMT consists of three tools to research and evaluate litter and illegal dumping programs and interventions at a local scale:

  1. Litter Hotshots Rating Tool – visual litter assessment tool that standardises the extent of littering or illegal dumping incidents. Presented as a scaled set of photographs, it can be used as a standalone tool, or in conjunction with the Litter Count Form or Litter Observation Form.
  2. Litter Count Form – litter audit tool used determine changes in the amount and composition of litter over time. This is accompanied by the instruction sheet: Fact Sheet: Litter Counts Made Easy.
  3. Litter Observation Form – behavioural observation tool used to capture information on human littering behaviour and the surroundings and infrastructure that influence this. This is accompanied by the instruction sheet: Fact Sheet: Litter Observations Made Easy

The three tools are serviced by the LLMT Spreadsheet where data is entered for analysis.

More information: VLAA Litter Champion.


DumpInData, Sustainability Victoria and VLAA

DumpInData was created by Sustainability Victoria and the Victorian Litter Action Alliance to support land managers to collect, manage and share illegal dumping data – it is not a public reporting tool.

It provides land managers with:

  • A platform for collect and manage illegal dumping data
  • Access to consolidated data to inform management of illegal dumping
  • Visualisation of data to view hotspots and their movement over time
  • A resource to evaluate illegal dumping programs and interventions
  • Information to assist in preparation of business cases to bid for funding / resources, or to conduct cost benefit analyses.

More information: Introduction to DumpInData webinar.


Sand Sampling for Microplastics, Sustainability Victoria

Sustainability Victoria, supported by EPA Victoria, Melbourne Water, the Port Phillip EcoCentre, Tangaroa Blue, and RMIT University, have developed a sand sampling methodology to collect sand samples to test for microplastics.

More information: Microplastics Citizen Science Project.


Australian Marine Debris Initiative and Database, Tangaroa Blue

The Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) is a network of communities, schools, industries, government agencies and individuals focused on reducing the amount of marine debris washing into our oceans.

The initiative is supported by the Australian Marine Debris Database which was created to enable volunteers and organisations running beach and river clean-up events to also collect data on what they were finding.

The consistent collection methodology allows collation of litter data into a standardised national database on marine debris.

More information: Tangaroa Blue AMDI Database.


Port Phillip Baykeeper Streets to Beach Litter Audit Methodology, Port Phillip EcoCentre

Developed by the Port Phillip Baykeeper, this resource is used to regularly audit reference sites around Port Phillip Bay to track any increase or decrease in litter items that are known to threaten wildlife and/or human health, or are the subject of ongoing campaigns. 

Compatible datasheets are available to audit inland streets, rivers, and creeks helping the Baykeeper track litter pathways from the coast, backwards to its catchment origin. Such data enables local source reduction strategies which stop litter before it starts.

Data collected via this audit tool is entered into the AMDI Database.

More information: Port Phillip EcoCentre.