Creating cleaner coastlines by giving
intelligent insights
to Citizen Scientists.

Litter Intelligence
Sustainable Coastlines

Litter Intelligence is a long-term programme that embodies the philosophy: “We cannot improve what we do not measure.”

Led by New Zealand charity Sustainable Coastlines and working in close collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation and Statistics New Zealand, the programme collects litter data to provide insights about the litter found on the beaches of Aotearoa, which can then be turned into clear actions for the communities that enjoy them.

After initially opting for an off the shelf solution for the data visualisation, users began to spot opportunities for improvement; the litter data wasn’t as easy to understand as it could be and information couldn’t be filtered in desired ways. Ultimately this made it hard to prioritise actions and mobilise citizen scientists without clear and easy-to-read data, so Sustainable Coastlines called in RUSH to reimagine the insights dashboard.

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Litter Intelligence Insights Sustainable Coastlines RUSH

Sustainable Coastlines came to us with a number of robust user stories and sets of data, and through a process of User Story Mapping we were able to help them analyse and prioritise the various features and changes that had come through from a variety of different user groups and stakeholders. By focusing on a clear and simple priority goal, we were able to prioritise features that were unanimous across the different groups which gave us the most valuable slice for a bespoke data visualisation MVP.


We designed and developed a Litter Intelligence insights dashboard, which is an incredibly effective tool for anyone, from citizen scientists and statisticians through to Kiwi school children.

The visually clear and engaging interface presents users with view and filter choices to help them dive into and better understand the data and develop insights that are relevant to their work or local area. This includes options to filter by location, litter type or time, as well as the ability to create comparisons within those same filter sets. For example, Auckland vs Wellington or this year vs last year, or plastic vs rubber.

Litter Intelligence Create Comparison Sustainable Coastlines RUSH

Being able to visualise the breakdown and filter litter by type is one of the most rewarding insights available on the dashboard. These freely, openly and publicly available findings are able to be widely used and understood, which gives politicians and business leaders, students and scientists, writers and researchers the right information to take action for a litter-free world.

locations and survey effort Litter Intelligence Sustainable Coastlines RUSH

Litter Intelligence is now monitoring over 180 beaches around Aotearoa, allowing environmental data to be submitted by communities at the highest standard, so it can be used by government agencies for national and international reporting.

For Sustainable Coastlines, the dashboard allows the litter data to be more widely used and understood, inspiring motivation and action especially among citizen scientists.

The Litter Intelligence programme’s ironclad data is already making an impact as mentioned in Sustainability Sciences’ article ‘Mapping citizen science contributions to the UN sustainable development goals’, earlier this year.

The Litter Intelligence insights dashboard enables users to see data that matters to them, ultimately empowering them to take action in the most meaningful way.

What our client says
We engaged RUSH at a critical junction in the growth of our Litter Intelligence programme to ensure we were able to create powerful insights from the extensive data we are collecting. RUSH grasped the challenge from the outset and have been a fantastic partner, championing the user to ensure the UX and UI were at the heart of each decision we made for this MVP, whilst working hard to make sure they integrated seamlessly into the rest of the site and existing infrastructure.
Camden Howitt
Camden Howitt
Co-Founder and Programmes Director, Sustainable Coastlines

Services delivered
  • UX Research & Design
  • Front End Development
  • Back End Development
  • Systems Architecture
  • Systems Integration