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Keeping our environment clean

Published 14th July, 2017

Reduce the volume of litter by 40 per cent, by 2020

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.

86 per cent of us think littering is a very important issue facing NSW.
EPA Hey Tosser survey 2016

It’s time to rethink our approach to litter

Litter has harmful effects. It pollutes ecosystems, waterways and highways. Littering leads 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.

Let’s work together to keep our environment the way it was meant to be—litter-free, for us and for future generations.

trash cash

Litter leads to more litter. The more litter there is in a given area, the less likely people will care for that space.

How are we tracking?

In 2015-16, NSW reduced the volume of litter by 12 per cent and its litter count by four per cent.

Results from the biannual Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) litter surveys, reported annually in the National Litter Index, revealed a 19 per cent litter reduction since the base line year of 2013-14.

What are we doing?

Container Deposit Scheme

By 1 December 2017, our Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) will be operational and helping to reduce the amount of beverage container litter across the state.

Under the CDS, people will be able to return eligible beverage containers for recycling in exchange for a 10-cent refund. For more information visit the NSW EPA website

Education and Awareness: Hey 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.

Watch this video with an audio description

For the first time in Australia – we used GPS technology to track litter. Forty GPS tracked bottles were released into waterways across the state to educate the community about how far litter travels once it reaches our waterways. Collectively, the bottles travelled over 280km – further than the distance from Sydney to Canberra. 

Council and Community Litter Prevention Grants

Between July 2012 to July 2021, the $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative will provide funding to councils, community groups and other organisations to help them tackle littering, combat illegal dumping and increase recycling.

So far, $5.89 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 $5.89 million, 15 Regional Waste Groups received $1.67 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 $5.5 million in grant funding will be made available for council and community litter grant projects from July 2017 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.

Want to help?

Published 14th July, 2017