Littering: Litter has been defined as the deposit of waste at a place that is an amount less than 200L in volume.
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 equalling an amount less than 200L in volume, that causes or is likely to cause harm to a person or the environment.
What can it look like?
Such example include; throwing a lit cigarette onto dry grass in extreme fire danger conditions, smashing a glass bottle and leave the broken glass on a footpath, leaving a syringe in a public place other than in a container intended to receive used syringes.
Illegal Dumping: Illegal dumping has been defined as the deposit of waste at a place that is an amount equalling greater than 200L in volume.
What can it look like?
Dumping is unsightly, 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, used 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 offence.
Litter can be any domestic or commercial waste and almost any material that is disposed of incorrectly. It also has significant environmental, social and economic impacts.
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 from a vehicle||Throwing cigarette butt from a car window. Food wrappers, bus tickets or food items left on ground. Throwing a soft drink can, takeaway food packaging or plastic bag from a car or boat; or items falling off the back of a ute or trailer due to uncovered load||$235||$1178||$3510|
|Dangerous littering||Any litter than can cause harm to human, wildlife or property. This includes broken glass left in a playground or a lit cigarette thrown near dry grass.||$471||$1884||$4680|
|Illegal dumping – More than 200L and less than 2,500L||Disposing of waste in an area that is not a dedicated waste facility, i.e. large domestic items such as fridges, garden refuse, and waste from construction, demolition, and excavation activities.||$1884||$5890||$46,800|
|Illegal dumping – More than 2,500L||Disposing of waste in an area that is not a dedicated waste facility, i.e. large domestic items such as fridges, garden refuse, and waste from construction, demolition, and excavation activities.||$2356||$8835||$117,000|
|Illegal dumping – failure to clean up waste||A person requested to clean up litter or illegally dumped waste who does not comply within the timeframes specified. This offence will proceed directly to court.||– $1178||$5890||$35,100|
|A person requested to clean up advertising material who does not comply within the specified period||-$589||-$2945||$4680|
Enforcement Process to Remove Waste
Step 1 Show Cause Notice: Before issuing a compliance notice, council will invite the offending person to ‘show cause’ why the 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 given.
Step 2 Wait for Response: A response will be required at least 14 business days after the show cause notice is issued.
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 a cost to the 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 notice and they are not the person that is responsible, they can complete a statutory declaration within 28 days of receiving the notice and declare the person responsible for the offence or that the vehicle had been sold at the time the incident occurred.
Step 5 Fine: If a person fails to comply with a direction to remove waste, they will face an on the spot fine of $1,178 for individuals and $5.890 for corporations. Prosecution: the offending person can face a $35,340 penalty on top of fine.