Littering and illegal dumping

Litter and illegal dumping pollute the environment. Waste from litter and illegal dumping can affect a person's health, harm or kill wildlife, spread pests and weeds, contaminate waterways, and reduce the aesthetics of the surrounding environment. Littering is a serious problem in Queensland. Although most people 'do the right thing', it still costs millions of dollars every year to help prevent, manage, clean up and dispose of waste.

What is litter?

A person litters if they abandon or discard rubbish outside a waste container. 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.

What is illegal dumping?

Illegal dumping is the disposal of more than 200L of domestic or commercial waste on public or private land without approval. Leaving unwanted items on the kerbside or outside charity bins or shops is illegal dumping. Common illegally dumped items include:

  • household rubbish and garden waste
  • household goods (such as appliances, electrical items, and furniture)
  • building waste (construction and demolition materials)
  • tyres
  • chemical drums and paint tins
  • asbestos.

How are littering offences enforced?

Under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, littering offenses can be enforced by Authorised Officers. Authorised Officers are officers from council and the Department of Environment Science (DES), who are authorised to enforce litter laws.

An Authorised Officer can issue a penalty infringement to:

  • someone they observe littering
  • the registered owner of a vehicle observed littering.

Penalty infringements for littering offenses are:

Table of common penalty infringements for littering offenses
Offense Penalty for individuals Penalty for corporations
General littering (including from a vehicle) (less than 200L of waste) 2 10
Dangerous littering (including throwing a glass object or lit cigarette from a vehicle) 4 16
Illegal dumping (less than 2500L of waste) 16 50
Illegal dumping (more than 2500L of waste) 20 75

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

A full list of offenses and penalties under the Waste and Regulation and Recycling Act 2011 can be found on the Queensland Government website.

Who do I contact to report littering or illegal dumping?

Anyone can report littering or illegal dumping they witness. To report a littering or illegal dumping incident, complete the online form, contact Council directly, or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

If you see someone littering from their vehicle take note of as much details as possible such as:

  • the vehicle's registration number
  • date and time of incident
  • location of incident (including any identifiable features)
  • type and quantity of waste
  • general description of the driver and vehicle details.

What you can do

Help Queensland become the cleanest state in Australia by taking your waste with you and disposing of it in the right places. Other things you can do include:

  • picking up any litter you see
  • using reusable containers and water bottles
  • carrying a litter bag in your car or on your bicycle
  • carrying your cigarette butts and chewing gum with you or use a pocket ashtray until you find a bin
  • picking up after your dog
  • when cleaning your footpath, pick up rubbish instead of sweeping or hosing it into gutters leading to our stormwater drains
  • reporting littering and illegal dumping incidents to Council or DES.