Street bin litter (SBL) is an overlooked waste stream and its composition has barely been studied. In a first characterization attempt, five sorting experiments were performed on SBL collected in Leuven, Belgium. The waste was sampled and sorted into 8 main and 39 subfractions. The largest main fractions found were illegally dumped waste (33 ± 3%), organics (17 ± 4%) and paper and cardboard (16 ± 2%). On a functional level, the street bins were estimated to contain about 35% packaging, of which beverage and food packaging constituted 46% and 38-44%, respectively. SBL is in relative terms too small a waste stream for economically viable material recovery. However, in order to make a full transition to a circular economy and due to its high visibility, SBL cannot be neglected. Preventive measures and the full application of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes can help to achieve SBL reduction. All rights reserved, Elsevier.