Australian Litter Measure (AusLM)

Last updated: 28 March 2023

Understanding the extent of litter and littering across Australia is important for developing policies and programs to address litter.

Policy makers and organisations or individuals that prevent, manage or clean-up litter need to know what the impact of existing policies and programs in order to understand what is working and what’s not and, therefore, to refine and adjust their approaches.

Sustainability Victoria, NSW EPA and the QLD Government have developed the Australian Litter Measure (AusLM) – a new methodology for measuring litter.

The AusLM provides a transparent, consistent, and simple approach to measuring the extent of litter in the environment. It is designed to be used in official litter monitoring programs but can also be used by groups such as local governments or citizen scientists who want to better understand the extent of litter at sites of interest to them.

These documents outline the methodology and how to use AusLM.

Specifications and requirements

The AusLM Specification is the key document that outlines the requirements that guided the development of AusLM. The Specification has 2 main components:

  1. AusLM methodology. The methodology describes the different types of sites the AusLM can be used at and how litter is measured/counted at these sites.
  2. Guidance on monitoring programs. This guidance outlines considerations for government organisations in using the AusLM for jurisdiction-level monitoring and recommendations for how a ‘core’ cross-jurisdictional program might be structured. The guidance also assists other stakeholder understand the approach to selecting locations, sites to conduct AusLM monitoring.

Field manual

The AusLM Field Manual is your step-by-step guide to implementing the AusLM. Your role as a surveyor will involve traveling to specific locations where you will count and categorise litter items you find within specific sites.

AusLM uses 3 paper forms to collect data about the sites, transects and the number of litter items that are counted:

  1. Site Information form
  2. Transect Information form
  3. Transect Litter Count form

Electronic versions of these forms are being piloted to achieve greater efficiency.

Two additional documents collate useful AusLM checklists and resources that are convenient to print and will support your team to conduct litter audits.

Site list template

A template for users to store specific site and transection location information.

Prototype report

The AusLM Prototype Report presents a high-level summary of the pilot data. Alongside these results, we outline a range of key considerations and opportunities to keep in mind when analysing and interpreting the AusLM data in the future.

Training resources

The AusLM Training Facilitator's Guide is a session plan that covers one day of AusLM training, which includes one small outdoor practice activity. The guide also includes one day of practice field work in an outdoor setting to apply knowledge and skills learnt from Day 1.

The Training Slides and Training Activity Cards are to assist you with delivering AusLM training, as outlined in the guide.

Evaluation Framework

The evaluation processes documented in the AusLM Evaluation Framework serve a number of purposes:

  1. Assess the effectiveness of initial AusLM implementation and identify necessary improvements through delivering the AusLM at a broader scale.
  2. Ensure quality assurance measures are in place to assess the quality of auditing work and adherence with the defined AusLM method.
  3. Assess if AusLM is meeting the needs of key stakeholders.
  4. Create a review and improvement cycle to keep the AusLM current and relevant for key stakeholders.