Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Deterring residential dumpers using a strategic approach

Illegal dumping case study – Ashfield Council


Using a grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to apply a more holistic and strategic approach to reducing illegal dumping in priority areas: multi-unit dwellings, roadsides and laneways.


  • Identified five illegal dumping hotspots before prioritising one for trialling landscape beautification works.
  • Increased awareness of options for disposing of waste (free clean-up days, resource recovery centres) through an extensive advertising campaign which produced and distributed magnets, multi-lingual signs and flyers.
  • Erected signs in pertinent locations about the legal implications of dumping and associated fines and penalties.
  • Used bright pink notification tape and flagging to draw attention to waste that had been illegally dumped.

Top tips

  • Landscaping can be designed to increase the effort required to dump waste illegally (making access difficult and improving visibility), and increase community pride – removing the provocation to dump. Dumping stopped once the visual amenity of the hotspot was improved.
  • Cost and convenience are major factors. Increasing awareness of other options for waste disposal will deter many people from dumping waste, especially if they are perceived as cost-effective. After the advertising campaign 25% more clean-up bookings were lodged and illegal dumping incidents reduced by 13%.
  • Project planning must reflect details. A contingency plan and flexibility in the project costing can help to deal with underestimating costs.


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Page last updated: 14 January 2015