Putting the lid on litter
Nearly everyone thinks littering is unacceptable, but some of us still do it. The NSW Government is aiming to change the community’s thinking, behaviour and reporting on littering.
Discarded cigarette butts are made of plastic and don't break down in the environment, causing can damage to our plants and animals
A key priority for the Government is to reduce litter volume in NSW by 40% by the end of this year. To meet this target, the EPA together with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has worked hard with councils, businesses, state government agencies and the community over the past few years and we have already seen litter reduced by 35%.
Under the Waste Less, Recycle More program, an additional $30 million funding for 2017–21 has been provided to councils and community groups to build on NSW’s other litter prevention work, including the successful Don't be a Tosser! campaign.
The community is encouraged to report if they see someone littering from a vehicle by using the online Report to EPA
Return and Earn stations are extremely popular with over 3 billion containers returned since 2017.
Three Billion reasons to Return and EarnReturn and Earn has made a significant contribution to litter reduction in NSW. In fact, in January, Return and Earn reached the milestone of 3 billion containers returned since the scheme’s inception in December 2017! Return and Earn has been a tremendous success and has fundamentally changed people’s thinking and behaviour on litter.
New marine litter campaign scheduled for April/May 2020
A dedicated marine litter campaign will be released in April/May 2020 to align with the next Don’t be a Tosser campaign burst. We know that 80% of marine litter comes from land, and our understanding of the scale of the problem and its impacts is still unfolding. The campaign aims to raise community awareness of the impact of litter on the marine environment and drive positive litter disposal behaviour.
No butts about it!
NSW started developing its first targeted cigarette butt litter reduction program in December 2019 following a successful trial which showed targeted interventions could prevent a vast number of cigarette butts polluting the NSW environment each year.
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in NSW, making up almost 4 out of every 10 littered items. Current data suggests only 40% of cigarette butts are put in the bin, with more than 1.3 billion butts entering the litter stream each year.
Butts are made from plastic and don’t break down, which means they persist in the environment and cause damage to plants and animals. They are also an expensive item to clean up.
City of Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale said Ryde recorded great results at three trial sites, showing binning rates of between 26-48%.
A new grant program to support councils, communities and business implement local cigarette butt litter prevention projects is scheduled to open in March 2020.
Litter prevention grants to 13 local councilsMore than $930,000 in funding to councils and community groups was announced in December 2019 under the latest round of litter prevention grants. Successful projects include cleaning up and preventing litter at transport interchanges in Blacktown, preventing litter at tourist hotspots in Byron Bay, and funding for sea bins installed at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney Harbour to collect marine litter.
Applications for the next round of community grants and a new cigarette butt litter prevention grant round are scheduled to open this month (March 2020).