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Illegal dumping

What is illegal dumping?

Image courtesy of LGAQ

Image courtesy of LGAQ

Illegal dumping is the unlawful deposit of any type of domestic, commercial or industrial waste of 200 litres (about the volume of an average wheelie bin) or more.

Common types of illegal dumping activity include:

  • household rubbish and garden waste being thrown over the back fence into the local park or bushland
  • household goods (such as whitegoods, TV’s, mattresses and furniture) being left on the footpath with a free sign or left outside a charity bin or shop
  • disposing of building waste (construction and demolition materials) in other businesses industrial bins
  • dropping off tyres, chemical drums and paint tins at roadside rest stops
  • driving into bushland, national parks and council reserves and dumping asbestos.

Illegal dumping attracts fines issued as penalty infringement notices (PINs). Waste deposits over 2500 litres in volume attract higher penalties than those under this volume.

Why is illegal dumping a problem?

Illegal dumping has serious environmental and social impacts, and is a considerable resource and financial burden for government, business and the community. Just like litter, illegal dumping occurs across a range of situations and environments.

Illegal dumping makes our communities and natural areas look dirty and uncared for, unpleasant to be in, and less likely to be used by the public. A poor and uncared for environment leads to more dumping, other illegal activities and antisocial behaviour. This, in turn, can lead to reduced community pride and reduced property values.

Some forms of illegal dumping such as chemicals or asbestos can directly cause harm or injury to humans and wildlife, or lead to pollution of the environment. Animals can also become entangled in dumped items leading to injury and/or death. Illegal dumping can also introduce pests and weeds into our natural areas, block waterways and roads, cause flooding (by blocked drains) and facilitate higher rates of erosion by smothering natural vegetation cover.

Why does illegal dumping happen?

People dump waste illegally to avoid disposal fees at landfill sites or because they do not want to spend the time or effort disposing of or recycling their waste properly.

Offenders often go to extraordinary lengths to illegally dispose of waste and avoid detection and prosecution. Ironically, legal disposal may have cost far less in fuel, time and effort and many of the items illegally dumped such as garden waste, white goods and computers can be easily recycled.

Further information on business-based recycling and waste management is available:

Can I report illegal dumping?

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 gives anyone the opportunity to report littering or illegal dumping occurring from a motor vehicle, trailer or vessel—where a registration number is known and observed by the reporter.

If someone reports illegal dumping from a vehicle, a PIN may be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle, in the first instance. PINs for illegal dumping start at $1884—refer to penalties for illegal dumping for further details.

However, in the case of offences that are of a more serious nature the alleged offender may be issued with a complaint and summons to attend court.

Further information is available on How to Report it, including hints and tips for collecting information.

Last updated
30 June 2015