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Illegal dumping & littering

Illegal dumping is the unlawful deposit of any type of waste material that is 200 litres or more in volume.

Illegal dumping of household rubbish, garden waste, building and commercial waste or other materials damages the Central Highlands’ natural areas.

Some common examples of illegal dumping include:

  • Dumping general rubbish, green waste or household items at public parks, bushland, roadsides or waterways
  • Dumping unwanted household items like furniture, mattresses or white goods on the kerbside when there is no council pick up
  • Overfilling public or charitable bins
  • Dumping waste outside the gate or boundary of council waste facilities (resource recovery centres)
  • Dumping tyres or car bodies at bushland
  • Dumping concrete or asbestos waste
  • Dumping hazardous chemicals.

The deposit of any type of waste material that is less than 200 litres is also unlawful and penalties apply.

  • Impacts of illegal dumping

    Instances of illegal dumping are commonly found in public places, roadside verges, bushland areas, and near the boundaries of council waste facilities (resource recovery centres).

    Illegal dumping causes significant impacts for our communities. Council must spend a significant amount of time and money disposing of illegally dumped waste. Other impacts include:

    Environmental impacts

    • Illegal dumping of solid waste in nearby water resources can contaminate the water quality.
    • Illegal dumped waste can alter normal water stream courses leading to flooding and erosion during heavy storm events.
    • Leakage of hazardous chemicals into the ground can pollute both ground and surface waste.
    • Consumption of plastic bags (polyethylene), toxic chemicals and hazardous industrial waste may lead to the fatal death of animals.
    • It increases the risk of growth of unwanted weeds and pest.
    • Harmful chemicals from illegally dumped waste can pollute the air.
    • Haphazard disposal of refrigerators and freezers can contribute to ozone layer damage because of the release of tetrafluoroethene or chloro-fluorocarbon.

    Social impacts

    • It reduces the aesthetic value of public places and deters people from visiting those places.
    • It can impose human health and safety hazards due to disposal of dangerous and hazardous wastes such as broken glass, syringes, chemicals and asbestos.
    • It can cause disease outbreaks and serve as a breeding ground for pests and vermin.
    • Dump sites can attract further dumping and other criminal activities.
    • Illegally dumped green waste can cause fires.
  • How to stop illegal dumping

    Did you know that illegal dumping and littering can be reported?

    If you see someone littering or illegal dumping from a vehicle, trailer or in person, you can report it. You can even report piles of illegal dumped waste.

    You can report illegal dumping to council by phoning  1300 242 686. You can also report instances to the Queensland Government by phoning 13 QGOV (13 74 68), emailing illegaldumping@des.qld.gov.au or online.

    In order to report illegal dumping, you need to collect as many details as possible, such as:

    • Time and date of the incident
    • Place and address
    • Description of the location (roadway, bushland, industrial area)
    • Vehicle registration number, colour, make and any distinctive features such as scratches, dents or stickers
    • Description of the person (clothing, gender, hair colour)
    • Type and quantity of waste
    • Photos of the incident if possible

    Your safety in a situation where someone may be illegally dumping is important to council. Do not:

    • Approach the vehicle or individuals who are illegally dumping
    • Let the illegal dumpers know you are there
    • Touch the illegally dumped material.
  • Fines & prosecution for illegal dumping

    Council or the Department of Environment and Science will investigate any reports of illegal dumping.

    They may issue a penalty infringement notice (PIN) under the Waste Reduction and Recycling (WRR) Act 2011 if necessary.

    They may also issue compliance notices for the clean-up of the illegal dumping that includes collection, transportation, storage, treatment or disposal of the waste.

    If a person fails to comply with a compliance notice, they may face further penalties.

    Littering and illegal dumping fines as at 1 July 2019

    WRR Act 2011

    PIN for individual Maximum penalty in court for individual PIN for corporation

    Maximum penalty in court for corporations

    103(1)(a): dangerous littering

    $533

    $5,338 $2,135

    $26,690

    103(1)(b): general littering

    $266

    $4,003 $1,334

    $20,017

    104(1)(a): illegal dumping less than 2500L of waste

    $2,135

    $53,380 $6,672

    $266,900

    104(1)(b): illegal dumping more than 2500L of waste

    $2,669

    $133,45

    Or twice waste levy (whichever greater)

    $10,008

    $667,250

    251(c): A person must comply with a compliance notice

    $1,334

    $6,672 $40,035

    $200,175

    Section 265: giving false or misleading information

    $222,194

    $1,110,971

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