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Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping of waste (external link) is an environmental crime that is ongoing and a highly visible problem in NSW. It is the unlawful deposit of waste larger than litter (external link) onto land or into water. Illegal dumping varies from small bags of rubbish in an urban environment to larger scale dumping of waste materials in isolated areas, such as bushland.

Dumped waste can attract others to dump waste at the same location, be aesthetically displeasing, attract pests, and create odour. Dumped green waste can also spread weeds.

Each year Council incurs considerable cost for investigation, collecting and disposing of illegally dumped matter. Authorised officers of Council have the ability to take legal action against persons found to be disposing of waste inappropriately including court action and the issuing of penalty infringement notices.

Remember: Placing your bulky rubbish out too early before your advertised Household Clean-up Campaign nominated dates is considered illegal dumping.

Reporting Illegal Dumping

Our community as a whole need to work together to reduce dumping and work towards achieving social and environmental benefits. Please keep your neighbourhood safe and clean by reporting illegal dumping.

If you see a possible illegal dumping, obtain as much information as possible. The kind of information your council will need to know includes:
  • Street location of illegal dumping.
  • Types of dumped materials, whether you believe it constitutes a hazard.
  • Date and time of dumping.
  • Name and address of person(s) responsible.
  • Associated vehicle, registration number(s).

Photographs of the incident(s) may assist the investigation.

To report a dumping incident you may contact Council on 0266 702 400 or 1300 292 872 during business hours, contact Councils After Hours Service on 1800 818 326, use the Report a Problem service on Councils website and Smartphone App and Mobile Website . Council will then commence its investigative process. Information provided will be held in strictest confidence.


Litter (external link) can be almost any material that is disposed of incorrectly. Litter includes cigarette butts, drink containers, bottles dropped on the ground, fast food wrappers thrown, or grass clippings swept into the gutter.
Authorised officers of Council have the ability to issue penalty infringement notices (external link) for littering offences dependent on the nature of the litter.

Did you know you could be fined for not covering your trailer or ute which has a load of material?

Ensure each load of material you are transporting is adequately covered. Uncovered loads can spill onto the road, creating pollution and litter. Dust, soil and litter that escape from uncovered loads can wash into stormwater drains and pollute waterways. Don't risk a fine. Litter from uncovered loads can also cause an accident through heavy objects dislodging and dust obscuring the vision of other road users such as motor bike riders. Transport waste responsibly.

Report Littering from Vehicles

If you see litter being discarded or blown from a vehicle you can report this to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) (external link). You will need to record details such as the vehicle registration, location, type of litter, date and time. When doing so make sure you do not compromise your safety. By reporting littering from motor vehicles, you can help raise awareness, reduce clean-up costs and keep NSW clean.

Wallet cards providing details of how to report are available at either of Council's Offices at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.

Orphan Waste

The unlawful dumping of waste raises a number of concerns such as environmental and aesthetic degradation, public health and safety, and unnecessary financial costs associated with identifying responsibility and proper disposal. Illegal dumping costs communities thousands of dollars every year to clean up.

Orphan waste refers to materials that have been disposed of illegally, including materials that have been dumped accidentally or intentionally, and on private or public lands, roads and waterways. Orphan waste is named because the waste type and the dumper responsible cannot be identified.

Unfortunately the land owner is responsible for managing the clean-up of dumped waste (external link) on their land, including the cost of clean-up if the perpetrator cannot be identified. Council nor the EPA will clean up the waste for private landowners or occupiers of private land.

Therefore, identifying the waste is important in finding out if the waste is toxic. If you see anyone dumping waste, report it to Council on 0266 702 400 or 1300 292 872 during business hours or Councils after hours service on 1800 818 326, as soon as possible. Please provide such information as location, vehicle registration number, colour and make of vehicle, details of persons observed, type of material being disposed, time and date etc. Council may be able to access assistance funding through the
Environmental Trust Grants (external link) therefore it is important to provide as much detail as possible to assist the assessment as to whether the request meets the eligibility criteria.

NSW EPA also has a pollution line, call 131 555.

Further Information

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