Litter can harm and kill wildlife, spread pests and weeds and pollute waterways. Littering is a serious problem in Queensland. The National litter index annual report 2015-2016 shows that there is still improvement to be made in Queensland.

What is litter?

A person litters if they abandon or discard rubbish outside a waste container. Common types of litter are:

  • cigarette butts
  • drink bottles
  • fast food wrappers
  • material from a trailer that is poorly secured
  • grass clippings swept into the gutter
  • fishing tackle

Litter problems

Litter builds up next to roads, can block gutters and finds its way into creeks, rivers and onto beaches. Every year large amounts of money, volunteer hours and energy is spent on cleaning up litter.

Litter can harm or kill wildlife. Plastic can choke and suffocate birds and marine life. Cigarette butts contain toxic chemicals which are a threat to the aquatic environment and marine life.

Organic waste, such as food scraps, contributes to algae blooms in waterways. Soil and garden waste can spread pests and weeds, including fire ants. Cigarette butts thrown from motor vehicles can start grassfires or a bushfire.

How are littering offences enforced?

Under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, Council officers may issue on-the-spot fines.

The fine amounts are:

  • Littering (including from a vehicle):
    • 2 penalty units - individual.
    • 10 penalty units - for a corporation
  • Dangerous littering (including from a vehicle):
    • 4 penalty units - individual.
    • 16 penalty units - for a corporation

Dangerous littering includes throwing a glass object or a lit cigarette from a vehicle.

Refer to the penalty unit page for further information on the current value of a penalty unit.

What you must do

Dispose of waste in the bin and make sure it is secure, or take the waste with you and dispose of it when you find a bin.

What you can do

Help Queensland become the cleanest state in Australia:

  • Pick up any litter you see.
  • Use reusable containers and water bottles.
  • Carry a litter bag in your car or on your bicycle.
  • Carry your cigarette butts and chewing gum with you or use a pocket ashtray until you find a bin.
  • Pick up after your dog.
  • When cleaning your footpath, pick up rubbish instead of sweeping or hosing it into gutters leading to our stormwater drains.

Report littering to Council.