Littering is the unlawful deposit of any type of waste material that is less than 200 litres in volume (about the volume of a wheelie bin), and penalties apply.

The most commonly littered items include:

  • cigarette butts
  • drinks bottles and fast food packaging
  • food scraps like apple cores
  • green waste such as palm fronds and grass clippings
  • fishing tackle
  • balloons

The following types of activities would be considered as littering:

  • leaving items beside an overflowing bin
  • leaving items under your seat at a sports stadium
  • leaving a newspaper on public transport
  • releasing balloons at celebrations at a school
  • material falling off a trailer because it was uncovered or poorly secured.

‘Dangerous littering’ causes, or is likely to cause, harm to a person, property or the environment, and tougher penalties apply. This includes:

  • throwing a lit cigarette butt into bushland
  • leaving a hypodermic needle in a park
  • smashing a glass bottle on the footpath
  • throwing an item from a moving vehicle at a pedestrian or cyclist.

Report littering

You can report littering online (from a vehicle/vessel), to council or by email.

Why is littering a problem?

Littering pollutes our environment and significantly diminishes the use, enjoyment and value of our public places—making our communities appear dirty and uncared for, unpleasant to be in, and less likely to be used and enjoyed.

Litter dropped in streets, along the side of the road, or in bushland can be washed or blown into creeks and rivers, polluting land, waterways and ocean environments. It is also the cause of great harm and suffering to the animals that get tangled in, injured by or ingest littered items, along with facilitating the spread of disease and pests.

Littering costs Queensland communities millions of dollars each year in waste management and clean-up expenses which could otherwise be used for important community services or amenities.

Roadside littering

One of the most commonly littered areas is highways, with the most commonly littered items being beverage containers, cigarettes and food-related products.

You can help stop roadside litter by:

  • keeping your waste inside the car until you can dispose of it in the appropriate bin
  • if you see it, report it

Check out the south west region roadside litter prevention pilot program – encouraging road-users to Love Queensland and help keep our highways free from litter.

Keeping Queensland Clean: the Litter and Illegal Dumping Plan

Our vision is to create a state that is free from litter and illegal dumping driven by the adoption of best practice in waste management and education.

Keeping Queensland Clean: the Litter and Illegal Dumping Plan (PDF, 4.7 MB) (the Plan) sets a clear direction and provides actions for sustainable, long-term change. It uses a combination of community engagement, education, partnership building, program development and compliance and enforcement to reduce litter and illegal dumping.

The Plan builds on work already underway across local governments and in our communities, and the knowledge and learnings gathered through the delivery of the previous Queensland’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Action Plan.

Learn about the littering and illegal dumping projects across Queensland.

Management framework

Much of the waste that pollutes Queensland comes from litter and illegal dumping—these cause great harm to our animals and ecosystems and can endanger human health.

The Litter and Illegal Dumping Management Framework examines the many sources of waste pollution, the pathways that waste moves through the environment and the impacts on human health, animals, and the environment. As a holistic biophysical management framework, it provides practical actions that can assist land managers in reducing and managing waste pollution, based on scientific information and research.