Litter & Illegal Dumping

Clean Up Australia Day

Council is a proud supporter of  Clean Up Australia Day, which takes place on the first Sunday in March each year. The annual event attracts hundreds of thousands of passionate Australians who come together to remove rubbish from their local environment.

Anyone can get involved on  Clean Up Australia Day - all you need to do is dress appropriately for the weather (including a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses) and wear covered (closed toe) shoes.

Individuals, community groups and businesses can  register their own Clean Up site or volunteer to  join an existing site. Schools can organise their own activity on  Schools Clean Up Day which takes place on the Friday preceding Clean Up Australia Day.

Those who are interested in organising a Clean Up site but aren't able to take part on the official days can register an alternative day.

Council can assist individuals and community groups that  register a Clean Up site by providing extra bags and gloves and picking up bags of collected litter for disposal. Once you have registered a site, a Council staff member will contact you to find out how we can be of assistance.

Council would like to extend its gratitude to all of the volunteers across Newcastle who have helped to clean up our streets, parklands, beaches and waterways since the first Clean Up Australia Day event in 1989.


According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the single most common litter item in Australia is the cigarette butt. Cigarette butts make up half of the litter in NSW.

Other common litter includes small pieces of paper, chip and confectionery wrappers, fast-food packaging, bottle caps, glass pieces, glass alcohol bottles, plastic straws and soft drink bottles (both plastic and metal).

Littering is an offence. You can be fined if you commit a littering offence. For further information
the  EPA has a comprehensive website about littering.

It includes information about littering laws and regulations, as well as advice on what you can do to prevent littering.

Littering from vehicles

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 it is an offence to deposit litter from a vehicle.

Penalties for this offence can be up to $2,200. Council officers carry out patrols throughout the local government area, including outside of normal business hours, and issue on the spot penalty notices of up to $250 for private vehicles and $500 for vehicles owned by corporations where littering is observed.

More serious offences such as littering cigarette butts from vehicles during a total fire ban period can attract even higher penalty notice amounts. Members of the public that witness litter deposited from a vehicle can report their observations.

Help us stamp out littering -  Report littering from a vehicle through the EPA's Online Reporting Portal or the Mobile App.

Illegal dumping

Council can investigate reports of illegal dumping in public and private places. Council officers can attend sites of illegal dumping and conduct investigations in an attempt to identify where the waste material originated from and who was responsible for dumping the waste.

Illegal dumpers are part of our community, they are regular people just like you, except, they dispose of their waste illegally. This irresponsible waste dumping creates a number of risks that may adversely effect the environment in which we live. These risks include:

  • Dangerous or unsafe play areas
  • Health problems
  • Environmental hazard
  • Poor visual amenity.

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, it is an offence to transport waste to or deposit waste in a place that can not lawfully be used as a waste facility and also an offence to cause or permit it to be transported or deposited. Penalties for this offence can be up to $250,000 for individuals and $1 million for corporations. On the spot penalty notices of up to $5000 can be issued by officers for lesser offences.

Council provides an on-demand   bulk waste service for Newcastle residents to legally dispose of unwanted large household items via their choice of a kerbside collection or a self-haul (tipping) voucher.

Please play your part in protecting the environment in which we live by acting responsibly. Contact Council on 02 4974 2000 if you require any further details or if you have information on dumped waste (your call can be treated confidentially).

Mattress dumpers beware

Council is investigating an increase in illegal mattress dumping taking place across the local government area.

Anyone with information about the illegal dumping of mattresses or other waste material is encouraged to call Council on 02 4974 2000.

Newcastle households have several options for disposing of mattresses:

  • Booking a kerbside collection or requesting a self-haul (tipping) through Council's   bulk waste service. Residents are reminded that placing material on the kerb at other times is illegal and on-the-spot fines of up to $5,000 may be issued.
  • Taking them to  Summerhill Waste Management Centre for recycling (fees apply).
  • Booking an in-home collection by a local mattress recycler (fees apply). You can search for a recycler on the  PlanetArk 'Business Recycling' website.
The information on this site and the links contained therein are provided by Newcastle City Council for the purpose of disseminating information free of charge for the benefit of the public. The information on this site has been made available for general personal use only and Newcastle City Council, its officers and employees make no representations, either express or implied, that the information contained is accurate and expressly disclaims all liability for loss or damage arising from reliance upon the information supplied. Newcastle City Council recommends that users exercise their own skill and care with respect to their use of the information on this site and that users carefully evaluate the accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes The information and the links contained therein may include views or recommendations of third parties, which do not necessarily reflect the views of the Newcastle City Council, its officers and employees or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action.