Keeping our environment clean
Why is this important to the people of NSW?
Littering impacts all of us. It spoils our environment, costs millions to clean up, and is associated with anti-social behaviour.
90 per cent of us think littering is a very important issue facing NSW.
EPA Hey Tosser post campaign research results 2017 (available from EPA)
It’s time to rethink our approach to litter
Litter has harmful effects. It pollutes ecosystems, waterways and highways. Littering can lead to anti-social behaviour and crime, and makes our communities less safe.
On top of the environmental and social costs, litter costs us at least $180 million every year to clean up.
Let’s work together to keep our environment the way it was meant to be—litter-free, for us and for future generations.
How are we tracking?
In 2016-17 the volume of litter increased by one percentage point on the previous year. This follows three years of steady litter reduction in NSW and the volume of litter remains below baseline.
Results from the biannual Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) litter surveys, reported annually in the National Litter Index, show litter volume in 2016-17 increased by 15 per cent and littered items increased by six per cent.
What are we doing?
Return and Earn: Container Deposit Scheme
The NSW container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, has over 600 collection points across the state, offering customers a 10 cent refund for every eligible drink container returned.
Customers are now returning three million containers a day through the scheme (June 2018). Drink containers make up 44 per cent of the volume of all litter in NSW, so Return and Earn is making a real difference in keeping our environment clean.
The NSW Customer Service Commissioner surveyed 2000 NSW residents in January 2018 and found that after only two months of the scheme, 92 per cent of people who had returned containers said they would use Return and Earn again, with 76 per cent saying they would recommend the scheme to others.
For more information on your nearest collection point or to learn more about the scheme visit the Return and Earn website.
Education and Awareness: Don't be a Tosser! campaign
The campaign educates the public about litter and inspires action across NSW. It provides helpful tips on reducing litter and empowers people to take action to stop tossers polluting our environment.
Council and Community Litter Prevention Grants
Between July 2012 to July 2021, the $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative is providing funding to councils, community groups and other organisations to help them tackle littering, combat illegal dumping and increase recycling.
So far, $8.3 million has been awarded to councils, Regional Waste Groups and community groups. We have helped fund new and improved litter bins, cigarette butt bins, litter signs, enforcement of litter laws, litter education and community engagement initiatives about the impacts of littering. The average reduction in litter for each council or community grant is 60 per cent. Apply for council and community litter prevention grants here
As part of the $8.3 million, 15 Regional Waste Groups received $2.9 million, and local councils received $3.96 million in grants to implement their local litter prevention plans. Local projects included preventing and reducing litter in recreational parks and sport fields, rural highways and roads and at bus interchanges in town centres.
A further $1.9 million in grant funding will be made available for council and community litter grant projects from July 2018 to July 2021.
What can you do?
Volunteering on Clean Up Australia Day, becoming the anti-littering champion in your workplace, or running a litter prevention project in your neighbourhood are just a few of the ways you can help us make our state litter-free.