Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21

The NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21 outlined clear actions for the EPA and its partners to reduce illegal dumping in NSW from waste outside multi-unit dwellings to large-scale illegal landfilling.

Consultation on the draft NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2022-2027 is open until October 17.

The NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21 (PDF 709KB) took a multi-faceted approach to the problem of illegal waste dumping, backed by funding under Waste Less Recycle More that supported a range of innovative solutions to illegal dumping, delivered in partnership with councils, industry and the community. The strategy built on the good work already completed under the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2014–16.

Implementation of the 2017-21 Strategy is now complete and has been independently evaluated. We are using learnings to develop the Illegal Dumping Prevention Strategy 2022-27 under the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy.

Overview

The strategy aimed to address issues through continued collaboration with our partners, local government, land managers, community organisations and industry. The strategy coordinates action on education, enforcement and infrastructure to prevent people from dumping illegally, and to take strong action against those who persist in doing the wrong thing. The strategy outlined 6 approaches and 36 corresponding actions.

  1. building an evidence base
  2. stakeholder engagement and capacity building
  3. education and awareness
  4. prevention, infrastructure and clean up
  5. regulation and enforcement
  6. evaluation and monitoring.

Highlights and achievements

What’s been done

  • RIDonline was further developed and embedded as a centralised database for reporting illegal dumping incidents and monitoring data and trends
  • Twelve research studies were commissioned to inform our approach to addressing illegal dumping, including research into:
    • behaviours, attitudes and social factors relating to dumping
    • specific waste types, such as asbestos, landfill and construction waste
    • specific dumping locations, such as kerbsideand charitable recycling facilities
    • the costs of illegal dumping to councils and charities
    • the effectiveness of particular strategies.
  • Research findingswere shared with councils and other stakeholders.

What’s been achieved

  • Councils and other stakeholders are increasingly reporting illegal dumping instances through the RIDonline database. This has provided valuable data insights at the local level, making it easier to address illegal dumping in targeted ways:
    • two thirds (66%) of NSW councils are recording at least some illegal dumping via RIDonline
    • 20,000 incidents were reported in RIDonline in the 2021 financial year with approximately 20% of reports made by members of the public
    • “RID Squads look at the heat maps, we look at the hotspot areas and we target our operations accordingly” (RID Squad Coordinator)
  • Research commissioned under the Strategy has given a clearer picture of why illegal dumping is happening and how to respond effectively. Research outputs are guiding our work, and have been used by some councils and other stakeholders to inform their own responses
    • “Our comms campaign was based on EPA research” (Council sustainability manager)

What’s been done

  • Kerbside dumping intervention trials conducted in partnership with four councils (Cumberland, Parramatta, Penrith and Randwick)
  • An action plan was developed to reduce illegal dumping at charity stores and donation bins (Reducing Illegal Dumping on Charitable Recyclers Action Plan 2019-2021 (PDF 1.17MB)
  • The RID Squad Program co-funded four regional partnerships to target illegal dumping, delivered in partnership with councils and regional organisations

What’s been achieved

  • Kerbside dumping intervention trials reduced illegal dumping rates by addressing the drivers of illegal dumping. Participating councils gained a better understanding of illegal dumping in their areas, which has led to enduring changes in how they address it
  • The Charitable Recyclers Action Plan built relationships across the charity and environmental protection sectors, and built charitable recyclers’ capacity to manage illegal dumping around their stores and donation bins
  • The RID Squad Program continues to build councils’ and other public land managers’ capacity to address illegal dumping. By coordinating efforts across regions it increases the effectiveness of investigations and enables a more strategic approach to preventing illegal dumping. The program has contributed to reduced illegal dumping in target areas and has raised community awareness of illegal dumping issues.
    • “It is hard to imagine life without the RID Squad… it complements Council’s work and leads by example.” (Participating council)

What’s been done

  • Three digital campaigns were delivered to educate and raise awareness about illegal dumping:
    • Free Fill – Is It Worth It?’ educated landowners in peri-urban areas about the risks of accepting free fill on their land
    • The Street Dumping campaign educated Sydney residents about how to dispose of household bulky waste and options for reuse
    • The Charitable Recyclers campaign encouraged community members to donate responsibly, to prevent dumping at charity shops and donation bins
  • A ‘Developing and Implementing Illegal Dumping Projects’ training course was delivered for councils and public land managers in 2020, with 38 participants completing the course. The course was rated very highly by participants and will be run again.
  • A Reducing Illegal Dumping resource kit and branded materials were developed for councils and other public land managers to use in their own work

What’s been achieved

  • Targeted education campaigns have raised awareness about illegal dumping issues and reduced the amount or likelihood of some types of dumping
    • The ‘Free Fill – Is It Worth It?’ campaign has reduced the likelihood of landowners accepting contaminated soil on their property, and made them more likely to seek advice and better alternatives
    • The Charitable Recyclers campaign reduced dumping around charity stores and bins by up to 82% in Lismore and Penrith
  • Training and resources have helped councils and public land managers to address illegal dumping
    • Training for councils and public land managers was well received, with 100% of surveyed participants saying it was useful for them and others
    • The Illegal Dumping Resource Kit has been accessed by approximately 80% of NSW councils, and almost all (84%) of those surveyed found it useful

What’s been done

  • Five grant programs funded 119 projects to address illegal dumping, awarding a total of $10.4 million to 80 separate recipients. These grant programs were:
    • Combatting Illegal Dumping: Clean-Up & Prevention
    • RID Squads/Programs
    • Aboriginal Land Clean-Up & Prevention
    • Reducing Illegal Dumping on Charitable Recyclers
    • Household waste reuse initiatives

What’s been achieved

  • Grant-funded projects have decreased illegal dumping in target areas, installed preventative infrastructure such as cameras and fences, cleaned up asbestos and other dumped waste, raised community awareness and built recipients’ capacity to address dumping. Outcomes include:
    • 70 projects resulted in equipment such as cameras and fences being installed
    • 53 clean-up and prevention grant projects resulted in decreased illegal dumping incidents in targeted locations
    • 55 clean-up and prevention grant projects improved community awareness and reporting of illegal dumping

What’s been done

  • The Waste Crime Taskforce targeted major illegal dumping by using an intelligence-led approach, focused deterrence techniques and working closely with other agencies
  • 27 convictions involving 16 entities were successfully prosecuted by the EPA in the Strategy period, with additional cases in progress
  • RID Squads have continued to target small-scale illegal dumping throughout the Strategy period, leading to:
    • 20 prosecutions
    • 2,100 clean-up notices
    • 1,400 official cautions
    • 2,100 penalty notices

What’s been achieved

  • The new Waste Crime Task Force has brought a greater focus on illegal dumping and improved collaboration between agencies. Its work has increased the prosecution of serial offenders and improved conviction outcomes
  • RID Squads and Programs have boosted investigative capacity at the local level, targeted hotspots, and conducted investigations across council borders that would otherwise not have been possible
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