Illegal Dumping

What is illegal dumping?

Illegal dumping is the disposal of any waste that is larger than litter to land or water without the correct approval (environment protection licence or planning approval).  It ranges from dumping small bags of rubbish or unwanted household items in cities and suburbs to larger scale dumping of materials like construction and demolition waste in more isolated areas.  This waste can include dangerous materials like asbestos.


Prevent illegal dumping

Most people understand that dumping is illegal.  Depending on the type and quantity of waste, illegal dumpers are motivated by convenience, an unwillingness to pay, or an uncaring attitude.  Research also shows that people dump on the kerbside or around charitable recyclers, as they do not realise it is wrong.  Take your waste to the right place and report illegally dumped waste.

Educate yourself to know where and how you can dispose of your waste materials.  Council areas have designated Waste Management Facilities, kerbside waste and recycling services, Transfer Stations for rural areas and Community Recycling Centres for problem waste.

Photos courtesy of RENEW NSW


The big impacts of illegal dumping

At NIRW we aim to influence lawful waste management practices and to raise awareness of the impacts of illegal dumping.  The big 5 impacts are:

  1. Environmental – Dumped waste can contaminate and degrade land, plant and animal habitats and pollute waterways.  It can also pose a fire risk.
  2. Human – Dumped waste can affect our health, especially if it contains chemicals or asbestos.
  3. Visual – Dumping makes public places unsightly, which lowers community pride and attracts more dumping.
  4. Resources – Easily recycled resources, like white-goods, tyres and green waste, are lost when dumped.
  5. Economic – Dumping waste can lower land values and undermines legitimate recycling facilities.  Cleanup is expensive.  Over 1 in 10 Councils spend $500,000 or more on illegal dumping education, enforcement, clean-up and other activities each year.

Tips for donating goods to Charities

Charitable organisations are happy to accept quality second-hand items for reuse.  It is great to donate items such as used furniture, kitchenware, clothing and linen.  Responsible donations support the reuse of household goods, help people in need and reduce waste going to landfill.

Here are some important tips when donating to your local charities:

  • Make sure your donations are in good condition – Be responsible and always consider if your donation can be used by someone else.
  • Only donate quality used goods – No damaged, broken or stained items.  They cannot be resold or reused by anyone and end up being sent to landfill.
  • Leave your donations within store hours – It costs charities money to clear donations left outside shopfronts and charity bins.  Check with your local charity for opening hours.
  • Don’t leave your donations exposed – Thousands of tonnes of donations are taken to landfill each year because they are destroyed by bad weather and vandals.
  • Bad donations cost charities money – Cleaning up costs NSW charities millions of dollars every year to dispose of unsaleable items, rather than on front-line services to help disadvantaged people.

Get RID of illegal dumping

You can report it at RIDonline, the EPA’s online reporting service.

When you report illegal dumping, you help the NSW EPA and your local Council:

  • Protect human health and the environment.
  • Detect and penalise illegal dumpers.
  • Find and clean up dumped waste.
  • Identify dumping hot spots, so strategies can be developed to prevent this behaviour.
  • We encourage people to report illegal dumping including used household items, old tyres, greenwaste or construction waste such as bricks and timber.

How to report illegal dumping:


Fines and Penalties

We need to dispose of our waste correctly and make good waste management decisions.  If we do not, there are heavy fines and penalties for illegal dumping.

On-the-spot fines for illegal dumping:

  • $7,500 for individuals
  • $15,000 for corporations

Strict liability waste dumping offences:

  • Maximum penalty for an individual $250,000
    • and in the case of a continuing offence a further daily penalty of $60,000
  • Maximum penalty for a corporation $1,000,000
    • and in the case of a continuing offence a further daily penalty of $120,000

Wilful or negligent disposal of waste causing actual or likely harm to the environment:

  • Maximum penalty for an individual:
    • $1,000,000 and/or 7-year prison sentence for wilful offences
    • $500,000 and/or 4-year prison sentence for negligent offences
  • Maximum penalty for a corporation:
    • $5,000,000 for wilful offences
    • $2,000,000 for negligent offences

Photos courtesy of RENEW NSW