Our commitment to reduce litter
Ku-ring-gai residents value a clean, green environment around them. We love spending time in the great outdoors, in shopping villages, at cafes and restaurants. Ku-ring-gai has a strong sense of community and wants our environment to be clean and safe. Litter makes an area look dirty and uncared for. Litter damages our natural environment, harms our marine and wildlife. Cleaning up litter costs our ratepayers.
The responsibility for litter rests with all of us, starting with our individual behaviour, right through to good infrastructure that enhances a clean environment.
There are many reasons why people litter. Some people litter because they can’t be bothered to find a bin. Others litter because it is simply a bad habit they have formed. Or they lack ownership, concern for others or the environment.
Littering is against the law. You must use a waste bin to dispose of your litter and if there is no waste bin available, you must keep your rubbish until you find a bin. Fines apply for littering.
What is Ku-ring-gai doing about litter?
One of the keys to long-term behaviour change and reducing litter is to make it easy for people to ‘do the right thing’ by improving physical infrastructure. It also includes repairing or refreshing the furniture and landscape.
Using NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More funding from the waste levy, Council conducted a number of litter assessments across our town and neighbourhood centres. Results have been mixed with a few centres rated as highly littered. Cigarette butts, takeaway containers and plastic drink bottle containers are our most littered item.
In response to the results, Council has prioritised litter prevention and committed to meeting the State Government target of 40% litter reduction by 2021.
In 2014, Ku-ring-gai Council commenced the Litter Free Ku-ring-gai Program. Our Town Centres had new bins and mall seats installed, litter removed and landscaping refreshed. Over the four year period our results have been fantastic showing significant reduction in the volume of litter. We have exceeded the Premier’s target of 40% with an average of 90% reduction in litter across all sites.
What can you do about litter?
Individuals are responsible for litter. Make a commitment to a zero tolerance of litter. Put litter in a rubbish bin or take it with you. Put cigarettes out and put them in the bin. Keep a bag in your car to collect rubbish and put it in your waste bin when you get home.
What can I do if I see someone littering from a vehicle?
Littering from a vehicle is against the law. If you see someone litter from their vehicle report them via the Report to the EPA website. For example, if you see someone tossing a cigarette butt or a takeaway wrapper. Organic material such as apple cores and orange peels are items that should not be littered. Fines apply from $250.
Over 450 of our local residents have registered to use the Report to EPA website. Since its inception in 2015, 669 littering reports have been made which has resulted in 465 penalty notices being issued.
Things to remember when reporting:
- Time, date, location – street, suburb and closest cross street.
- Number plate and vehicle details – make, model, colour.
- Litter type – cigarette (lit or unlit), food wrapper, drink bottle etc.
- Litter deposited – whether it was thrown, dropped, blown or placed.
- Offender details – gender, age, hair colour and any other features you notice.
Remember – your health and safety is most important so don’t use your mobile phone while driving.
More information can be found on the NSW EPA's website.