The law

In 2011 Queensland’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (WRR Act) was introduced into legislation, and aims to:

  • promote waste avoidance and reduction, resource recovery and efficiency actions
  • reduce the consumption of natural resources and minimise the disposal of waste by encouraging waste avoidance and the recovery, re-use and recycling of waste
  • minimise the overall impact of waste generation and disposal
  • ensure a shared responsibility between government, business and industry and the community in waste management and resource recovery
  • support and implement national frameworks, objectives and priorities for waste management and resource recovery.

The WRR Act provides legislation to manage litter and illegal dumping in Queensland. Under the WRR Act, it is an offence for a person to unlawfully deposit waste.

The WRR Act identifies litter and illegal dumping offences as:

  • littering under 200L, including littering from a vehicle or vessel
  • dangerous littering under 200L
  • illegal dumping—200L or more, to less than 2500L
  • illegal dumping—2500L and over.

Dangerous littering is litter that causes or is likely to cause harm to a person, property or the environment. This includes throwing a lit cigarette butt onto dry grass in high fire danger conditions, leaving a syringe in a public place, or smashing a glass bottle on the footpath.

The WRR Act allows members of the public who have witnessed a littering or illegal dumping incident the opportunity to report it. The law also allows authorised persons to issue penalty infringement notices (fines) as well as compliance notices for the clean-up of the illegal dumping. This may involve the collection, transportation, storage, treatment or disposal of the waste to ensure the impact on the environment is minimised and the person responsible does not impose a cost to the administering authority.

If a person fails to comply with a compliance notice they may face further penalties.

In the case where the waste may cause serious or material environmental harm, it would be managed under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. A range of compliance tools such as Penalty Infringement Notices (fines), Direction Notices, Clean-up Notices and Environmental Protection Orders can be used to manage these offences. Compliance guidelines have been developed to outline in which circumstances these tools may be used.

Littering and illegal dumping penalties

Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 section and offence

PIN amount for individuals

PIN amount for corporations

Maximum penalty in court for individuals

Maximum penalty in court for corporations

103(1)(a): dangerous littering





103(1)(b): general littering





104(1)(a): illegal dumping less than 2500L of waste





104(1)(b): illegal dumping more than 2500L of waste





251(c): A person must comply with a compliance notice





Section 265: giving false or misleading information

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*Or twice the waste levy that was avoided (whichever is greater).

Please note: Penalties are current at the time of publication and may be subject to change.