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Ultimate Guide to Illegal Dumping in Sydney

Illegal dumping is a widespread and serious issue affecting humans, animals and the natural environment. This is a crime not known to many people and is currently helping to extend the damage far beyond what most people might have imagined.

The rampant illegal dumping in Sydney causes problems such as reducing the quality of life, the appearance of the area, and the danger resulting from hazardous waste. That is why the government of New South Wales has put huge penalties to prevent this illegal act and by funding $65 million in the Illegal Dumping Programs. 

Furthermore, we need to learn about the risks of illegal dumping and educate others about the right things to do to prevent illegal dumping. This way, we will create a beautiful habitat for humans, vital wildlife and building a better future for the next generation. Here’s some of the information you need to learn about illegal dumping.

Defining Illegal Dumping 

Illegal dumping is when people or businesses leave the rubbish in public areas. These areas could be parks, vacant land blocks, nature strips or waterways. But to have a better look about illegal dumping,
NSW legislation summarised it as:

  • Unlawful transporting, acceptance and depositing of waste
  • The owner, transporter and the person who receives the waste or allows it to be collected commits a crime

Moreover, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) detailed the definition of ‘illegal dumping’ by stating that illegal dumping includes placing unwanted household items on the footpath when there is no council collection.

It also includes dumping rubbish or green waste in the bush or on a roadside, and even dumping asbestos waste anywhere, private or public. It also had the companies or contractors that are paid to properly dispose of commercial waste but leave it on areas without the council’s approval instead.

Common Items That are Illegally Dumped

Across NSW, household trash makes up the largest portion of illegal dumping. The common items that are illegally dumped are:

  • Disposal of white goods like fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, air conditioner and 
  • Disposal of furniture (lounge, sofa set, mattress, bed frame).
  • Construction waste 
  • Garden waste
  • Tyres and vehicle parts 

The items mentioned are largely contributing to the dump pile every year in Sydney. These are commonly seen and dumped in low-visibility areas, vacant lots, poorly lit areas, and rural roads where there are no one around and alleyways.

Penalties Involving Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a criminal offence that can lead to severe consequences such as imprisonment. There are two distinct types of sanctions; individual and corporate. Shown below are the different offences and penalties according to the

On-the-Spot Fine for Illegal Dumping

  • Individuals who are caught on-the-spot will get a penalty from $750 to a maximum of $1500
  • Corporations who are caught on-the-spot will get a penalty of $1500 with a maximum of $5000

Strict Liability Waste Dumping Offences

  • The maximum penalty for an individual: $250,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further daily penalty of $60,000
  • The maximum penalty for a corporation: $1,000,000 and in the case of a continuing offence, a further daily penalty of $120,000

Willful or Negligent Disposal of Waste Causing Actual or Harm to the Environment

  • The maximum penalty for an individual: $1,000,000 and/or 7-year prison sentence for wilful offences; $500,000 and/or 4-year prison sentence for negligent offences
  • The maximum penalty for a corporation: $5,000,000 for wilful offences; $2,000,000 for negligent offences

A recent amendment by the POEO Act to increase penalties for illegal dumping includes transportation or vehicles that repeatedly seize with illegal dumping offences. If the offender is convicted, he will receive up to 2-year prison sentences. 

In addition, if the offender is found providing false and misleading information to dealing with waste, an additional fine of $500,000 for a corporation. As for the individual, there will be $240,000 and an 18-month prison sentence.

Illegal Dumping Consequences

Illegal waste dumping poses significant or potential threats to public health and the environment. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our human health is at immediate risk, though it will have a devastating impact on our society sooner or later. The three main consequences of illegal dumping are concerns relating to health and safety, environmental damage and financial strain.

Public Health and Safety

Dumping rubbish anywhere may block access to pathways and driveways. This is not only inconvenient but a hazard to people using the pathways. This is especially concerning for the elderly and those with impairments that rely on accessible paths to get around.

If illegally dumped rubbish contains toxic materials, such as chemicals, asbestos and fuel, these can seep into the ground contaminating bushland and local water sources. Overall this can have a damaging effect on humans and wildlife.

Environmental Destruction

Environmentally, the impact of illegal dumping is devastating with the contaminations of local waterways, increasing temperature, destruction of plants and wildlife and its habitat, marine pollution and contribution to global warming, no wonder why penalties cost everyone a fortune. 

Financial Burden

To keep Sydney tidy and the people safe, millions of dollars are invested in cleaning up the mess. This is a lot of money that didn’t need to be spent this way. It is estimated that more than $500,000 was spent on cleaning up illegally dumped rubbish in Sydney.

Rubbish removal businesses, landfill operators, recycling centres, and recovery facilities are also losing income/revenue as a result of illegal dumping. Companies are also financially affected by competitors and individuals who do not have to pay landfill fees to get their waste disposed of.

Ways to Reduce Illegal Dumping in Sydney

Since illegal dumping is rampant in Sydney, we can help stop the crime and help our environment. Here are the actions that you may apply if you find someone doing illegal dumping.

Report to Authorities

This action offers the best way of capturing offenders. Even if there is no single point of contact to report the offence, government bodies in Sydney will take care of the situation depending on the size of the dumping.

Additionally, the Office of Environment and Heritage will investigate these offences for larger size dumping such as tons of waste, dump related to organized crime or rubbish that poses a serious threat to the public or environment. Local police or Crime Stoppers can be contacted on 1800 333 000.

Take Proofs

If calling takes time for an immediate response, you can take a photo or video of the offenders as evidence of their unlawful act. You can also look for information that will make them known to the police. With this evidence, you can report this to the authorities.

Cleaning Offenders’ Mess

Even though it’s not recommended, you may decide to take action and clean up the mess of the offenders. But before doing it, make sure that it is safe. Extreme caution must be observed. And it is important to take high safety precautions and gear up personal protective equipment. The dump may have concealed hazardous waste, such as asbestos or lead paint that may harm you if precautions are not observed.


Illegal dumping is unappealing, unethical and causes problems in all sorts. Illegal dumping should never be done, even if it’s on private land. The effects of illegal dumping far outweigh the small fines for doing it. By dumping the right way, you will be doing a huge favour for the future generation.

At Kurt’s Rubbish Removal, you will no longer worry about illegal dumping. The team is fully aware of NSW EPA’s regulation on illegal dumping. We will take care of your rubbish, responsibly. There’s no greater feeling than finishing up from a junk removal job with proper procedure and seeing the loyal customer’s faces happy and satisfied. 

With affordable prices and quality rubbish removal performance, your problem with dumping your rubbish will be quick and hassle-free. For all your rubbish removal needs, please call us now at 0428 255 438 or book with us online here


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