Littering in Sydney

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Litter, along with illegal dumping, is a big issue in NSW and the government has been actively engaged in activities and campaigns to reduce the amount of waste. It has become one of the state Premier’s 12 Priorities to achieve. They hope to decrease the volume of litter by 40% by the time 2020 rolls around.

How do I report littering?

You are able to report directly to the EPA if you see someone littering from a vehicle. Fines can be issued on the spot to individuals who are seen to be littering. Reports are made online with the following details:

  • Provide the vehicle registration details and location of the littering
  • Saw the littering take place
  • Report the incident within 14 days

Individuals littering can face a fine from $250 and $500 for corporations.

What is litter?

Before you make a report, you may wonder what defines litter. According to the law, under section 144A of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), it is:

a) any solid or liquid domestic or commercial refuse, debris or rubbish including any glass, metal, cigarette butts, paper, fabric, wood, food, abandoned vehicles, abandoned vehicle parts, construction or demolition material, garden remnants and clippings, soil, sand or rocks, deposited in or on a place, whether or not it has any value when or after being deposited in or on the place.


b) any other material, substance or thing deposited in or on a place if its size, shape, nature or volume makes the place where it has been deposited disorderly or detrimentally affects the proper use of that place.

Litter can take form and shape in a number of different ways. Some of the most popular types of litter found in NSW are:

  • Cigarette butts
  • Industrial containers
  • Beverage containers
  • Print and advertising materials
  • Takeaway plastic containers
  • Domestic containers

Littering often occurs in secluded areas where no one will find out the perpetrator. However, it is very much common for people to litter in public areas in front of people. In NSW, the hotspot locations for litter are:

  • Highways
  • Carparks
  • Industrial areas
  • Shopping centres
  • Recreational parks
  • Beaches
  • Residential areas

Anti-litter Campaign

The NSW government has launched a number of campaigns to combat the issue of litter and improper disposal of rubbish. Some of these include:

Don’t Be a Tosser Campaign

The campaign began in 2014 as a way to build on the community to call out individuals littering as tossers with the iconic phrase “Hey Tosser!” The campaign adopts a wide range of humour and irony to depict the poor excuses that people use for littering. It reminds people to not to make poor excuses for littering and to put it in the bin.

The entertaining campaign utilises the playful nature of the theme to change the behaviour of the community to think critically and take full responsibility before tossing out their litter. 80% of NSW residents agreed with the campaign’s effectiveness in addressing the litter problem.

  • Return and Earn: Container Deposit Scheme

Another great campaign that rolled out on the 1st of December 2017 is the NSW container deposit scheme. There is a monetary incentive for individuals to recycle drink containers at any one of 600 collection points across the state. For every eligible drink bottle returned, there is a refund of 10 cents.

As of 15 March 2019, over 1.5 billion drink containers have been returned via our container deposit scheme. As drink containers make up 44% of all the litter in NSW, this number is significant and has a huge impact on making a real difference in keeping our beautiful environment clean and litter-free.

These campaigns are aimed directly at reducing litter by identifying litter hotspots. However, in addition to this, there are rubbish removal services in Sydney that aids the government’s goal of achieving minimal litter by educating, informing and incentivising the need to preserve the natural environment.

Get A Same-Day Rubbish Removal Service Today