Littering and Illegal Dumping

Littering and illegal dumping of waste is a rising concern for the Bundaberg Region, costing our community thousands of dollars in clean up hours every year.

Littering occurs throughout the region, and we need your help to save our streets, parks and bushland. If you see someone littering or dumping waste illegally you can report the incident details to Council or the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection


 

 

 

What problems can it cause?

Littering and illegal dumping of waste has the potential to cause health and safety risks for both people and the natural environment, it can:

  • contain broken glass, syringes, nappies, medical waste and toxic substances like asbestos
  • attract rodents, insects and other vermins
  • provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos
  • block waterways and storm water drains, increasing the potential for flooding and erosion
  • be a potential fire hazard
  • attract further dumping
  • other antisocial and illegal activities
  • decrease community pride and intesifies the problem
  • builds up next to roads, can block gutters and finds its way into creeks, rivers and onto beaches, it harms and kills wildlife, for example:plastic waste can choke and suffocate birds and marine life
  • even unlikely materials such as soil and garden waste contributes to litter and dumping issues within Bundaberg Region by spreading pests and weeds
  • organic waste such as food scraps, contributes to algae blooms in waterways
  • Cigarette butts comprise90% waste littered from a vehicle.  Plastic and cigarette butts end up in waterways and can be swallowed by marine animals.  These animals will slowly choke to death  Cigarette butts littered from motor vehicles can also start bush fires, costing lives and damaging property
Why does it happen?

Businesses and individuals that illegally dump, do so to avoid fees at landfills, or believe the time and effort required for proper disposal is to much.

To avoid detection and potential fines, offenders go to extraordinary lengths to illegally dispose of materials.  If they considered the cost of fuel and time taken to dispose of the waste, they would usually find it cheaper and quicker to dispose of these materials legally at a landfill or transfer station.

What is Littering and Illegal Dumping?

Littering: Litter has been defined as the deposit of waste at a place that is an amount less than 200Ltr's in volume.

Littering - what can it look like?

Common types of litter include cigarette butts, drink bottles, fast food wrappers, material from a trailer that is poorly secured, grass clippings swept into the gutter, fishing tackle.

Dangerous Littering:  Deposited equaling an amount less than 200 ltr's  in volume, which causes or is likely to cause harm to a person or the environment.

Illegal Dumping - what can it look like?

Dumping is unsightly, it degrades the local environment, reduces property value and costs rate payers a substantial amount of money each year to clean up.  Illegal dumping includes items such as bags of rubbish, garden waste, building materials, household goods, abandoned cars, scrap tyres and hazardous waste.

QUEENSLAND LITTERING LAWS AND PENALTIES

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 includes a range of offences for litter and illegal dumping, including:

  • General littering
  • Littering from a vehicle
  • dangerous littering
  • illegal dumping
  • failing to clean up waste

Local Governments and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) have a shared responsibility for litter and illegal dumping enforcement.  Authorised officers from Council and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) can issue fines and direction notices for litter and illegal dumping offences.

ABANDON SHOPPING TROLLEYS

A person abandoning shopping trolleys outside of a shopping centre precinct can be issued on the spot fines for illegal dumping.

Council does not pick up abandon trolleys however you may report any to the follow services for collection:

Retailer

Contact

1st Choice Liquor Stores
Bi-lo
Bunnings
Coles
Kmart
Officeworks

Target

Report to Coles via free call 1800 876 553 or online

Big W
Dan Murphy's
Target
Woolworths

Report to Trolley Tracker via free call 1800 641 497 or online

FACT SHEETS

Examples of litter and illegal dumping fines are included in the table below.

Table 1: Penalties for litter and illegal dumping

Type of Litter Examples Penalty infringement notice - individuals
Penalty infringement notice - Corporation
Maximum penalty if proceed to Court
General littering and litter froma vehicle

Throwing cigarette butt from a car

Food wrappers, bus tickets or food items left on ground

Throwing a soft drink can, takeaway food packaging or plastic from a car.

$243   $1,219 $3,657
Dangerous Littering

Broken glass left in a playground.

A lit cigarette thrown near dry grass.

$487 $1,950
$4,876
Illegal dumping - more than 200L and less than 2,500L Disposing of waste in an area that is not a dedicated waste facility ie: large domestic items such as fridges, garden refuse and construction material. $1,950
$6,095
$48,760
Illegal dumping - more than 2,500L Disposing of waste in an area that is not a dedicated waste facility ie: large domestic items such as fridges, garden refuse and construction materia. $2,438
$9,142
$121,900
Illegal dumping - failure to clean up waste

A person requested to clean up litter or illegal dumping waste who does not comply within the timeframes specified.

 $1,219  $6,095 $36,570
Giving false or misleading information       $202,963
ENFORCEMENT PROCESS TO REMOVE WASTE

Step 1 Show Cause Notice

Before issuing a compliance notice, Council will invite the offending person to "show cause" as to why a compliance notice should not be given.  The show cause notice will outline the facts and circumstances forming the basis for the belief that a compliance notice should be issued.

Step 2 Wait for Response

A response will be required at least fourteen (14) business days after the show cause notice is issued.

No Response

Step 3 Compliance Notice

Queensland litter laws allow authorised officers from Council and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) to issue compliance notices for illegal dumping.  The compliance may require the offender to collect, transport, store, treat or dispose of the waste and ensure that the person responsible does not impose any cost to Council and ultimately rate payers for the waste to be cleaned up.

Step 4 Wait for Response

If a person is issued with a compliance noteice and they are not the person that is responsible, they can complete a statutory declaration within twenty-eight (28) days of receiving the notice and declare the person responsible for the offence or that the vehicle has been sold at the time the incident occurred.

No Response

Step 5 Fine

If a person fails to comply with a direction to remove waste, they will face a penalty of up to $10,000 and/or prosecution.

How to Report Littering and Illegal Dumping

Report witnessing littering and illegal dumping from vehicles

Queensland's Waste Reducition and Recycling Act 2011 provides everyone with the ability to report littering and illegal dumping associated with a motor vehicle, trailer or vessel.

If you witness a person littering or illegally dumping waste from a vehicle, trailer or vessel, report it to Bundaberg Regional Council.

Ensure you take note of the following in order to report the event:

  • the vehicle's registration number, make and colour;
  • time;
  • date;
  • location.

Your location will be considered by Environmental Health Services and a penalty infringement notice may be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle if there is sufficient evidence.  The new laws deem the registered owner of the vehicle to have committed the offence in the first instance, even though the actual offender may be someone else.

To safeguard the rights of vehicle owners, if the registered owner was not the person responsible, they can complete a statutory declaration within 28 days of receiving the fine and declare the person responsible for the offence or that the vehicle had been sold at the time the incident occurrred.

Report Littering or Illegal Dumping Site

Contact Council's Customer Service Centre and lodge a complaint which will then be directed to an authorised Officer to investigate.

Due to certain circumstances, the following actions may result:

  • Due to legislative requirements, more evidence may be required to further pursue the matter ie: details mentioned above have not been provided.  As a result no further action may be able to be taken, so it is very important that if you are able to provide Council with as much details as possible.
  • Action has been taken against the offender.
  • The alleged offender has been issued a warning letter.

FEATURE LINKS