EPA work to prevent littering

The EPA's work against littering, and how we can help you or your community group to fight litter in your area.

Working with local councils, community groups, businesses, state agencies and other partners, the EPA targets the most-littered items and locations. It does this by providing funding for better bins and litter clean ups, education campaigns and enforcement to hold litterers to account.

Prevent litter everyday

The EPA's litter research shows that eight in ten residents think litter is an important issue facing NSW. It's easy to prevent litter every day. You can

  • put your rubbish in a bin
  • take your rubbish with you if no bin is available
  • keep a bag in your car to collect rubbish
  • put your cigarette butt in a butt bin, or an ordinary litter bin when extinguished
  • keep a container in your car to collect cigarette butts
  • buy less packaging and use reusable containers

You can also

The EPA's Litter Prevention Program

Under Waste Less Recycle More, $30 million of additional funding for 2017–21 will build on the EPA's litter prevention work so far. This includes

Don't be a Tosser! litter prevention campaign

EPA research shows people know littering is wrong. They know it is socially unacceptable. That is why, if people litter, they tend to do it when no one is looking.

The Don't be a Tosser! campaign has evolved since the launch of the Hey Tosser! campaign in 2014. It builds on the Hey Tosser! approach and moves the conversation from external shame into an internal dialogue and creating internal guilt about littering.

Creative materials branded with the Don't be a Tosser! theme, are available to help you create a litter prevention project.

Bottles to track litter movement

During March 2017, the EPA released 40 GPS-tracked plastic bottles into waterways across NSW. The results show the community where litter can end up when it is thoughtlessly discarded onto streets, highways and beaches, or into waterways. 

Reducing cigarette butt litter

The EPA is committed to reducing cigarette butt litter and littering behaviour. The EPA has completed extensive research into understanding the cigarette butt littering behaviour, and developed resources to help understand and tackle cigarette butt litter.

  • Find out more about research, tools and programs to reduce cigarette butt littering.

EPA litter enforcement campaigns

Throughout the year, the EPA runs campaigns to raise community awareness and enforce littering laws. To hold litterers to account, council rangers and state agencies issue fines for littering, year round. The EPA can also issue fines for littering from vehicles based on reports from members of the public.

Report a Tosser Blitz!

The EPA is working with local councils and other state government agencies on a state-wide campaign targeting drivers who throw litter along roads and major highways.

 Litter prevention grants

The EPA believes everyone can do something to reduce litter and change litter behaviour in NSW. EPA funding helps local councils and community groups to target our most-littered items and locations.

Read about the grants and how to apply.

Have a look at litter prevention grant case studies for inspiration on what can be done when we work together to reduce litter.

Training for enforcement officers

The EPA works with regulatory agencies, particularly local councils, to develop knowledge, skills and resources so they can better enforce litter laws and prevent litter locally.

Training workshops for enforcement officers are conducted through AELERT Professional Development and Training. See the AELERT website  for course dates.

Working with Roads and Maritime Services

The Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) is committed to cutting roadside litter toward NSW's goal of reducing litter volume by 40%. The RMS works with the EPA, councils and other stakeholders to create strategies to achieve this goal.

In June 2016, the RMS and EPA collaborated to hold the first Tidy Roads Summit. This event engaged key stakeholders in industry and government, to find effective and innovative solutions to roadside litter and illegal dumping. Following from this a Tidy Roads Steering Committee was established to progress initiatives that target roadside litter. The Committee meets quarterly and includes members from Woolworths., McDonalds local councils, Regional Waste groups and state agencies.


Materials to guide effective litter prevention

The EPA provides resources to assist NSW councils, land managers and local communities understand their litter problem and develop litter prevention projects and campaigns.

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