Since 2012, North East Waste in partnership with the NSW Environmental Protection Agency, has facilitated a regional illegal dumping program across its 7 participating Councils of Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed Shire.

This partnership has continued to provide resources, support and training to member councils to assist them in the prevention, surveillance and investigation of illegal dumping and to raise the awareness and participation of the community in reporting dumping.

Since 2016/17 there has been significant improvement in illegal dumping data collection and reporting assisted by Clean Up and Prevention’ (CUAP) grant funding through the EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More Initiative.

In 2017-18 across the north coast region

  • 1,958 illegal dumping incidences were reported including 61 asbestos dumping incidents
  • 436 tonnes of illegally dumped material was cleaned up and disposed of
  • The estimated cost to Councils and the community to clean up dumped waste was $540,000
  • 63% of incidents were of household general waste, furniture, carpets, clothing and whitegoods dumped on kerbsides

North East Waste and member Councils are committed to stamping out illegal dumping across the region through improved intervention and enforcement strategies, the implementation of targeted education and awareness programs and continuing to gather and evaluate data to review progress and inform future direction.

You can find out more about the project by viewing our annual reports and newsletters here


Illegal dumping is the disposal of waste on public or private land or into water without a licence, permit or approval from the relevant authority such as Council or the EPA. It varies from small bags of rubbish in an urban environment to larger scale dumping of materials in isolated areas, such as bushland. Commonly dumped items include household general rubbish and items such as furniture, whitegoods and mattresses, garden waste, building waste and hazardous material such as asbestos.

Illegal dumping has negative environmental, social and financial impacts. Dumped green waste can cause weed and pest infestations. Hazardous waste such as asbestos and chemicals can contaminate soil and water and present a risk to both human and animal health. Dumped waste often attracts more dumping and other unsociable activities, it decreases community pride and can discourage visitors to an area. Illegal dumping costs our community thousands of unnecessary dollars every year in investigation, clean up and disposal fees, money that could be better spent on more positive community initiatives.

Fines of $4, 000 for individuals and $8,000 for corporations can be issued on the spot, with maximum penalties up to $250,000 for individuals and $1 million for corporations. Wilful or negligent disposal of waste causing actual or likely harm to the environment, penalties of up to $1 million and/or 7 years in prison for individuals and $5 million for corporations. 

    If you see or witness illegal dumping, obtain as much information as possible such as:

  • 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

Photographs of the incident may assist the investigation.

There are numerous ways in which unwanted items can be disposed of responsibly across the region.

  • Select your council to find out more about available waste & recycling services in your area, including landfill and resource recovery centre information and transfer station opening hours:

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  • Household problem waste items including paints, oils, batteries, gas bottles, smoke detectors and fluro bulbs (household quantities of upto 20L or 20kgs only) can be dropped off for free at one of the regions 8 Community Recycling Centres
  • Give away unwanted items to friends or family or host your own swap party or garage sale. Secondhand Saturday
  • Try to sell or give away unwanted items via online services such as Gumtree, Sell Buy Swap and Ebay
  • Donate unwanted (saleable only) items to a local charity. Please don’t dump at op-shops. If it’s not saleable it will cause unnecessary cost and work for volunteers to dispose of it to landfill

The EPA has conducted research with government, industry and the community to find out what motivates businesses and the community to illegally dump and how that behaviour can be changed. About illegal dumping and dumpers

The NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21 continues to take a multi-faceted approach to the problem of illegal waste dumping. The strategy outlines 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. Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21

A range of other useful and informative publications on Illegal Dumping can be downloaded from the EPA Illegal Dumping website.


We need your help to get RID of illegal dumping. If you witness someone dumping waste or come across dumped waste report the issue as soon as possible to your local Council so they can take action, or report it online at ridonline.epa.nsw.gov.au
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Illegal Dumping video