ROADSIDE RUBBISH: What does it cost to keep our streets clean?
3 Backers raised €35 of €1045

Less than a quarter of surveyed areas in Ireland are litter-free.

The main culprits are passing motorists and pedestrians throwing cigarettes, chewing gum, packaging and food litter onto our streets.

Our investigation will uncover what it costs local authorities to keep our streets clean.


Ireland has committed to monitoring - and reducing - litter on our streets as part of our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Roadside littering isn’t insignificant - An Taisce estimates that the volunteers who took part in their annual Spring Clean collected 2,750 tonnes of litter in 2023.

The cost to local authorities was estimated at over €85 million in 2021 according to the Irish Times.

Our investigation will use Freedom of Information requests to local authorities to estimate the amount of money spent on clean up - and which parts of the country are the worst offenders.

Following the introduction of the national levy in 2002, the proportion of plastic bags which made up litter fell drastically from 5% of litter in 2001 to 0.4% in 2022.

We will speak to experts about whether the deposit return scheme, introduced in 2024, will have a similar effect on can- and bottle-waste.

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You can contact us at and find out how we work here. Our investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.

3 Backers raised €35 of €1045
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