Austin, TX TrashBlitz Campaign Data Reveals That Nearly 70% of All Litter Found in City is Plastic

by | October 15, 2021


In the summer of 2021, three organizations + one litter data platform launched TrashBlitz Austin.

5 Gyres, Inland Ocean Coalition, Into the Sea, and Litterati worked together with 168 participants to document and collect litter at 80 locations throughout Austin, Texas.

The data from these cleanups was uploaded into Litterati’s data platform, where both people and AI technology categorized everything by type, material, and brand to understand the trash collected.

This open-sourced report shows a clear and immediate need to push for policy change that focuses on source reduction of single-use plastics. 

Key Data Points:

  • 68% of all observed trash was made of plastic.


  • The top objects found were cigarette butts (32%), food wrappers (22%), and bottle caps (7%).


  • Food & Drink, Smoking Materials and Personal Hygiene made up the top three categories found.


  • Single-use food and drink-related items, including wrappers, bottles, caps, straws, bags and utensils, were the most common items found and made up 1/3 of all observed trash.


  • The top three brands were Coca-Cola, Marlboro, and McDonalds.


Like every city in America, Austin, Texas has a litter problem. Can Austinites come together to help their city  tackle the root causes of their litter issues?

To answer this question, 5 Gyres, Inland Ocean Coalition, Into the Sea, and Litterati created the Austin City TrashBliz.

The goal of the campaign was to collect data across the city that would provide insight to help answer critical questions like 

  • How does the prevalence of litter, and specifically single-use plastic, impact the city?


  • Which areas of the city are most impacted by litter?


  • What are the top littered items, what materials are they made of, and which brands produce the litter found across the city of Austin?



By training and recruiting volunteers to collect data on the Litterati platform and then utilizing Litterati’s data science capabilities, the Austin Trashblitz yielded insights about specific areas of focus for future cleanups and opportunities to bring forward legislative action taking on plastic single-use items. 

See the executive highlights of the report here.

Take a deep dive into the data with the full report embedded below:

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