What is littering?
Littering is the incorrect disposal of any type of domestic or commercial waste material of an amount less than 200 litres in volume (the size of an average wheelie bin).
Common types of waste include:
- cigarette butts, drink bottles and fast food packaging thrown out of a vehicle
- material falling off a trailer because it was uncovered or poorly secured
- grass clippings swept into a gutter
- fishing tackle.
Why is littering a problem?
Littering has serious environmental impacts and is a considerable resource and financial burden for government, business and the community.
Cigarette butts comprise 90 per cent of the waste littered from vehicles. Plastic cigarette filters end up in waterways where they can choke and kill marine animals. Lit cigarette butts that are discarded are also proven to cause fires.
Apple cores and banana skins
Biodegradable items, such as apple cores and banana skins, are waste—and incorrectly disposing of them, for example, by throwing them out of a vehicle window is littering. Biodegradable waste:
- is unattractive
- attracts vermin
- spreads disease in agricultural areas, native vegetation, parks and gardens
- may become an invasive species and compete with native plants
- contributes to water pollution by causing algal outbreaks and reducing oxygen supplies to marine life.
If someone reports littering from a vehicle, a penalty infringement notice will be issue to the registered owner of the vehicle. If the registered owner did not litter, they can lodge a statutory declaration and nominate another driver, or advise of vehicle change of ownership.
The penalties for littering or illegal dumping from a vehicle are outlined in the fact sheet.
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