Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you would have heard about the ‘Don’t be a Tosser’ campaign. This campaign is a NSW tactic to reduce the amount of litter state-wide, particularly litter thrown from vehicles. The NSW government is serious about reducing litter volume, with the hope of cutting it down by 40% by 2020. In order to reach this goal, NSW has come up with the states first Litter Prevention Strategy.

 

Although most people think littering is unacceptable, some still do it, perhaps without even realising it. Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act littering is defined as ‘any solid or liquid domestic or commercial refuse…including any glass, metal, cigarette butts, paper, fabric, wood and food’. It also includes garden remnants, soil, sand and rocks. I’m sure many of us have thrown an apple core out of the car window thinking its okay because its organic, or haven’t considered leaving mown grass around the place as littering. But according to the law, it is. So, just because you may feel like it doesn’t count because its biodegradable, the law claims it does, and it’s still an offence.

 

Despite only 22% of the population thinking they will get caught for littering, over 6,500 people are caught every year just through other drivers reporting them to the EPA. Individuals can incur fines from $250 for littering and companies will be fined $500 or more! The EPA is working with many big businesses like Woolworths and McDonalds to clamp down on drivers throwing rubbish out of their windows. Alongside this, between 2017-2021 an additional $30 million will be put towards funding local councils litter prevention work.

 

The EPA is also hoping to reduce cigarette butt litter. Cigarette butts are consistently the most littered item in NSW and are harmful to the environment. In order to find an effective strategy for dealing with this, the EPA have done extensive research into cigarette littering behaviour. This research will help with designing new strategies to influence smoker’s decisions when it comes to disposing of their cigarette butts.

 

Littering has become a habit for many people, something done out of laziness. However, the NSW government have had enough and are really trying to crack down on all forms of littering. With hefty fines now in place it’s better for your bank balance and the environment if you just put your rubbish in the bin!