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Littering and Illegal Dumping

Littering and illegal dumping is a highly visible form of environmental pollution which has the potential to be harmful to people and the environment.  Such activities also represent issues for the community, with impacts on amenity and health as well as significant clean-up costs for local government, state government and private landowners.

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What is Litter and Illegal Dumping?


Litter can be any object disposed of by a person, either onto land or into any waters whether by a pedestrian, from a vehicle, or from a premises.  Disposing of litter also means discarding or depositing litter or allowing litter to be blown from, or to fall from a premises or vehicle. Where the disposal occurs from a vehicle the liability for the offence rests with the owner of the vehicle.

General litter can be any solid or liquid domestic or commercial waste.

For example: chewing gum, live cigarettes or cigarette butts, food, beverage containers, packaging, furniture, green waste, used syringes, glass, personal items such as clothing, footwear, demolition material, building or construction material, vehicles or vehicle parts and farm or agricultural machinery or equipment.

Click here for information regarding unauthorised posters and flyers, otherwise know as bill posting.

Illegal Dumping

It is illegal to place your rubbish or unwanted household items in a public place without Council permission (Under Section 22, Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016).

People found dumping rubbish or goods can be:

  • issued with an on the spot fine between $210 and $1,000
  • taken to court and fined maximum penalty from $5,000 to $120,000

Click here for information regarding having your rubbish legally removed.

Click here for information regarding abandoned shopping trolleys.

Littering and Illegal Dumping from a Vehicle

Illegal dumping and littering are frequently associated with vehicles and it’s not uncommon to see cigarette butts and other litter being thrown or blown from vehicles.

The Act applies an onus to the owner of a vehicle for an offence committed in association with, or from, a vehicle.  This operates in a similar manner to speed and red-light camera infringements whereby a vehicle owner has an opportunity to declare someone else to have been responsible for the offence although the onus remains upon that person to prove that fact.

If you have evidence that may identify the ‘litterer’ and you are prepared to provide evidence in Court, please click here to report. 

How to Report Littering or Illegal Dumping

 Please report instances of littering or illegal dumping,by contacting the City of Adelaide Customer Centre on 8203 7203 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

You can help our investigations by telling us as much as possible about what you saw, including:

  • Where the dumping took place
  • The date/day and time
  • Description of the person or people involved
  • Description of the vehicle and registration number
  • Amount and type of waste.

This information must only be obtained if it can be done so safely.

City of Adelaide’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Process

Collecting and disposing of illegally dumped waste costs Council more than $50,000 every year. This money could be better spent on improving your community.

Where possible, illegally dumped waste/litter will be sectioned off with high visibility yellow and black tape and stickered to illustrate that Council is aware of the illegally dumped waste or litter and that it is being investigated.  Council expects that the tape will help dissuade others from further adding to the pile.

Where the yellow and black tape is used, an information flyer will be distributed to neighbouring properties alerting residents that:

  • the illegal dumping is under investigation
  • there are options for disposing of the items legally
  • penalties can be imposed on those responsible for illegal dumping
  • they can contact Council if they have any information on the illegally dumped items

If the waste is removed, no further action will be taken.

Waste that remains for more than two working days after being taped, will be further investigated by Council Officers.

For an introduction and further information on the new Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016, click here for a link to the EPA website.

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