Conduct an audit on alcohol rubbish

Impact of cheap alcohol in your neighbourhood - many communities express concern and frustration about the presence of alcohol-related litter and broken glass in their nearby public places - town centres, car parks, parks, playgrounds, sports fields, walkways, beaches, schools, etc.

Children are often at the greatest risk from alcohol products lying around within their neighbourhood. Broken bottles may not only present an injury risk to children, but alcohol products also present a form of harmful exposure to alcohol branding and advertising. It is suggested that the greatest risk from alcohol-related litter is faced by non-drinkers, especially children who play in public spaces where alcohol products are typically discarded.

It is possible that alcohol litter may be more common near alcohol outlets that have single alcohol products for sales, known as single sales. For example, some outlets may sell single alcohol product items at a very low price (e.g. <$2 each). Usually these are single cans/bottles of mainstream beer or Ready-to-drinks (RTDs). These products may be consumed in public places that are in close proximity to the alcohol outlet from where they have been purchased. 

Due to many concerns regarding the harm from single sales, many District Licensing Committees around the country prohibit bottle stores from selling them. Single sales are typically defined as individual beers (except craft beers) and RTDs <440mls, and shots or pre-mixed shots. Products sold as singles often end us as litter in nearby public places. It is also possible that many products sold on heavy promotion may end up as alcohol litter in local neighbourhoods.

Below is a guide to collecting information and data on alcohol litter. If alcohol litter appears to be connected to single sales in your neighbourhood, you can use this issue to object to the renewal of the bottle store liquor licence and ask that the store have a condition requiring no single sales. You can check to see if the outlet has a condition prohibiting single sales by looking at its licence. By law, the liquor licence (with its conditions) must be attached to the inside of the outlet so as to be easily read by people entering each principal entrance. If there are significant issues with intentional or unintentional breaking of glass bottles, you could also pass on this information to your local council.



Tip Button TIP

  • Partner up with two or more people. The audit may take time. It is also a good approach to conduct the audit together so that you can ensure consistency and accuracy between team members.
  • Identify the area(s) of interest where alcohol is frequently consumed. Note: these places may already have alcohol/liquor bans in place (see below).
  • Select a suitable time for the audit, e.g. Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning may be useful.
  • Take photos of any alcohol litter that you find.
  • Record information about each piece of litter – date, time, location, name of alcohol product/packaging, material of product (glass/plastic/can), etc.
  • Share your experience with other communities. Get to know your local Council licensing inspector so that you can pass this information on to them.
  • As mentioned above, there could be an existing alcohol ban in place at your area(s) of interest. Check to see if there is any sign around the area indicating this. In areas where an alcohol ban is in place, there should be no alcohol being consumed there (during specific times or at all times – depending on the policy). If alcohol is being consumed in an alcohol ban area, report this to your local Council.