Illegal rubbish dumping

Council is joining forces with North East Waste and Resources Recovery Group (NEWRRG) and fellow north east Councils to crack down on illegal dumping of rubbish.

Illegal dumping is the deliberate or unauthorised disposal of any waste onto private or public land where no license or approval exists to accept such waste.

There are few aspects of life and society that litter does not affect. It is a significant financial, environmental and social problem, it pollutes our roadsides, chokes our waterways and can threaten wildlife. It is a lost opportunity to re-use dumped materials.

Illegal dumping can vary significantly from a small bag of rubbish to large household goods such as whitegoods, mattresses and furniture or building (construction and demolition) materials, abandoned cars, car parts or hazardous waste such as asbestos, tyres or chemical drums in isolated areas.

Illegal dumping includes dumping household rubbish in public place bins, such as those in public parks and reserves. These bins are for the public to use and are serviced using money from rates. When household rubbish is dumped into public place bins, they need to be serviced more frequently, using rates which could be better spent elsewhere. Dumping household rubbish into public place bins also causes inconvenience for users of the public space.

Why is it a problem?

Illegal dumping can pose a direct threat to the environment and human health. Depending on the material dumped effects can include:
* Threats to local wildlife and its habitat.
* If the dump is of a hazardous nature e.g. asbestos or toxic chemicals it can contaminate the land, waterways and groundwater.
* Waste dumped near residents contributes to an unsightly environment that looks and feels unsafe.
* Lost resources that could have been recycled or reused.
* It costs you money – Council spends ratepayer’s money to clean up dumped sites and fixing infrastructure and natural areas impacted by it.

What can I do?

If you witness someone dumping rubbish or have come across dumped rubbish where you believe it should not be, report the issue to us so we can investigate it further.
1. Call Council on (03) 5755 0555 or
2. Call EPA Victoria on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) 24hour hotline or alternatively use
3. EPA’s Report Litter App to report on the go

If you report any illegal dumping, follow these important safety instructions:
 Do not approach the vehicle or individuals who are illegally dumping;
 Do not let the illegal dumpers know you are there; and
 Do not touch the illegally dumped material for your own safety.

There are many disposal alternatives for common household items:
* Visit Council’s A-Z of waste here to find a list of alternative options
* Unwanted but still useable household items in reasonable condition can be donated to local charity organisations, or sell your unwanted items online or through a buy-swap site.
* Electrical items e.g. computers and televisions ‘e-waste’ can be recycled at local Transfer Stations (charges apply)
* Scrap metal can be recycled at local Transfer Stations (charges apply) or see scrap metal merchants in the Yellow Pages
* Transfer Station
* Recycling Near You - Planet Ark runs this website that helps residents wanting to find out where to recycle their unwanted household goods.
* Planet Ark's Business Recycling (for businesses only) – Planet Ark runs a specific recycling listing for business to find national and local re-use and recycling options for around 90 different materials.
* Gas bottles can be recycled for free at Council's Transfer Stations.
* Under .25m3 of the following recycling free - charges apply for beyond that amount:
 * Glass bottles and jars
 * Clean newspaper, cardboard, magazines, advertising material
 * Plastic bottles and containers with recycling symbols 1 to 7
 * Juice and milk cartons
 * Steel and aluminium cans; empty aerosols
 * Pizza boxes

Enforcement / fines

Authorised officers from Council can issue fines and infringement notices for litter and illegal dumping offences.
The Environment Protection Act 1970 gives these officers the power to protect the environment by fining people who are in breach of the Act. Fines for illegal dumping can attract a maximum penalty of $1250 for individuals.

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