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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 waste material of an amount of 200 litres (about the volume of an average wheelie bin) or more.

Common illegally dumped items include:

  • household rubbish and garden waste
  • household goods (such as whitegoods, TV’s, mattresses and furniture), including items left on the footpath or outside a charity bin or shop
  • building waste (construction and demolition materials)
  • tyres, chemical drums and paint tins
  • asbestos.

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

Why is illegal dumping a problem?

Illegal dumping is a serious issue. It pollutes our environment and significantly diminishes the use, enjoyment and value of our public places for residents and tourists. Just like litter, illegal dumping occurs across a range of situations and environments.

Littering and illegal dumping costs Queensland businesses and communities millions of dollars each year in waste management, including clean-up expenses. Queenslanders want and deserve a clean and safe environment with the majority saying it’s not OK to use our environment as a rubbish dump.

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 may illegally dump waste

  • on the spur of the moment
  • to avoid disposal fees at tip 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.

In addition to residents disposing of waste themselves, residents trying to do the right thing by paying a third party waste pick up service type operation to take items to a tip, can also discover that this waste has been illegally dumped. Please ensure that if you pay for someone else to dispose of your waste that you receive a copy of a tip receipt or other proof of lawful disposal. Please also keep copies of the name, contact details and vehicle details if possible.

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

Can I report illegal dumping?

Yes you can! Information on reporting illegal dumping, including hints and tips for collecting information, is available on the How to Report it page.

Last updated
18 August 2016