Claiming that illegal dumping occurs in almost every city worldwide is a long shot. But it’s safe to say that proper waste disposal is a global challenge, as we throw away 2.12 billion tons of rubbish every year.
Moreover, the NSW EPA reported that about 35% of communities and 27% of waste generating businesses in NSW had dumped their rubbish illegally over the last year. That accounts for household waste dumped on the kerbside.
At this rate, illegal dumping in Sydney and the NSW creates significant problems for humans, wildlife, and the natural environment. If left unattended, it could significantly reduce our quality of life, affect cities’ appearance, and expose citizens to safety and health risks.
How the Government Takes Action
Through its Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, the New South Wales government invested $802 million from 2012 to June 2022 to fund 3,347 projects as Australia's biggest waste recycling initiative.
The Waste Less, Recycle More initiative supports innovative methods and projects that encourage communities to rethink and innovate about waste avoidance, littering, and illegal dumping. It consists of 4 extensions, namely:
- Aboriginal Land Clean Up and Prevention Program (ALCUP)
- Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program
- Illegal Dumping Prevention Program grants
- Reducing Illegal dumping for Charitable Recyclers
These grants aim to support holistic and sustainable initiatives to prevent illegal dumping across NSW and care for the country and its Aboriginal communities.
Besides, these projects also highlight our role as active participants in educating others about the consequences and dangers of illegal dumping.
What is illegal dumping?
The NSW Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act 1997 No 156 defines illegal dumping as:
- Unlawful transporting or depositing of waste - Part 5.6 Land pollution and waste, Division 3 Waste Offences (143)
- Use of place as waste facility without lawful authority - Part 5.6 Land pollution and waste, Division 3 Waste Offences (144)
In both waste offences, it’s clear that illegal dumping is the act of unlawful transporting/depositing of waste. Whoever carries out the act as a land owner, transporter, or receiver is therefore committing a crime.
The NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) further defines illegal dumping as the act of:
- placing unwanted household items on the footpath when there is no council collection
- dumping rubbish or green waste in the bush or on the side of a road
- businesses or contractors who are paid to dispose of commercial waste correctly but instead dump it on land without proper approvals
- dumping asbestos waste
Common Types of Illegally Dumped Rubbish
There are several types of rubbish found in a typical Sydney suburb—but a select few get improperly disposed of more frequently than others. That includes common household items such as:
Furthermore, vacant lots and poorly-lit sections in the suburb are common illegal dump sites for the following:
Illegal dumping laws and penalties
As much as it supports local initiatives and projects, the NSW government also enforces strict laws for wrongdoers to ensure they are deterred from repeating the offence.
On-the-spot penalties for illegal dumping
- $7500 on-the-spot fine for individuals caught by the EPA ($4000 otherwise)
- $15,000 on-the-spot fine for corporations caught by the EPA ($8000 otherwise)
Continuing offence penalties
- $250,000 maximum penalty for individuals, on top of a further daily penalty of $60,000 for continuing offence
- $1,000,000 maximum penalty for corporations, on top of a further daily penalty of $120,000 for continuing offence
Wilful or negligent disposal causing harm to the environment
- $1,000,000 maximum penalty for individuals and/or 7-year prison sentence for wilful offences; $500,000 and/or 4-year prison sentence for individuals who are negligent offenders
- $5,000,000 maximum penalty for corporations for wilful offences, $2,000,000 for negligent offences
Recent POEO Act amendments enforce increased penalties
The POEO act was recently amended to enforce heavier penalties for illegal dumping, including:
- Seizure of vehicles used in repeat illegal dumping
- Repeat offenders may get 2 years jail time or more
- The EPA requires waste transporters to install GPS devices in their vehicles so the agency can monitor their movements
- Offenders caught supplying false/misleading information when working with waste disposal can receive a fine of up to $500,000 (corporations) or $240,000 and an 18-month prison sentence (individual).
The Environmental Impact of Illegal Dumping
It’s a no-brainer that illegal dumping affects everyone and all forms of life, in one way or another. More specifically, it has many negative impacts on three human aspects: Social, Economic, and Environmental.
Social Impact of illegal dumping in Sydney
- Reduced quality of life for Sydney residents & tourists
- Ruins the scenery and ambience of suburbs and business districts
- Valuable resources in the form of recyclables are dumped away
Environment Impact of illegal dumping in Sydney
- Water & Marine pollution (contamination of waterways, oceanic habitats, potable water)
- Destruction of flora and fauna
- Contributes to the rising global temperatures (methane & greenhouse gas emissions)
Economic Impact of illegal dumping in Sydney
- Taxpayer money is spent cleaning up illegally dumped waste & fixing natural areas/infrastructure affected by poor rubbish disposal
- Illegal dumpsites reduce the property values in nearby suburbs/communities
- Loss of revenue in recovery facilities due to poor waste disposal
- Companies may face unfair competition against competitors who cut costs and dispose of waste illegally—though steep penalties counteract this.
How you can help against illegal dumping
You can always choose to report it—or start making the difference in your home.
As soon as you spot illegal dumping activity in your community, report the incident to the City of Sydney using this online form. The city’s waste contractors and cleansing teams will take action accordingly and as soon as possible.
You can also start at home by making small changes and ensuring your waste is segregated and disposed of properly. We understand there’s only so much you can do in one day, so we recommend partnering with local rubbish removal teams to take care of bulky waste and do the heavy lifting.
Always make sure to put your safety first. For residential and commercial rubbish disposal involving a ton of lifting, segregating, and cleanup, it’s best to call us at All Gone Rubbish Removals.
Who knows, you may be dealing with hazardous waste hidden beneath piles of old furniture or hoarded waste. In these situations, it’s best to leave it to professionals with years of experience and the right tools and protective gear.
Avoid Illegal Dumping with All Gone Rubbish
Illegal dumping at home, work, or on vacation trips is unethical, unattractive, and unhealthy to you and the environment. Even if it’s your private property, we discourage you from doing it.
Besides, the consequences of getting caught illegally dumping your rubbish are very steep and far outweigh the cost of responsibly disposing of your rubbish.
You also do everyone a huge favour by doing the right thing.
All Gone Rubbish is the perfect solution to your rubbish removal needs. Our team has been in the business for over 10 years and is actively taking part in curbing as much rubbish from illegal dump sites as possible.
We provide safe and fast rubbish collection in the following regions:
- Rubbish removal in Sydney
- Rubbish removal in North Shore
- Rubbish removal in Eastern Suburbs
- Rubbish removal in Inner West
- Rubbish Removal in Northern Beaches
- Rubbish removal in Central Coast
- Rubbish removal in Gosford