Tasmania prides itself on its clean air, water and land, yet litter is often visible in our parks, reserves and roadsides.
What is litter?
Litter is material that is deposited in a way that creates disorder. Frequently littered items include cigarette butts, drink containers, takeaway food packaging and
plastic shopping bags.
Litter can also include balloons, food scraps, household rubbish, abandoned vehicles, construction or demolition equipment, garden clippings, furniture and material falling from an unsecured load.
Not only is litter unappealing, but it also ends up in our waterways and in the ocean. Reducing and preventing littering and dumping is everyone's responsibility: governments, businesses and individuals.
The role of the EPA
The EPA has the responsibility for implementation of the Litter Act 2007 which:
prohibits the deposit of litter in the environment
regulates the distribution of materials that may become litter
protects and enhance the quality of the natural and urban Tasmanian environments.
The litter laws also provide a legal basis for the Litter Hotline
and online reporting, where littering from a motor vehicle or vessel can be reported.
Report Rubbish can be used to report an area that needs to be cleaned up. This simple web application requests information about the type, quantity and location of litter and forwards the report automatically to the relevant land manager.
A second, parallel, system called the
Litter and Dumping Management System (LaDMS) provides land managers with a tool for managing reports made through Report Rubbish.
Local government has a major role in the management of litter. They install and service stormwater litter traps, litter bins, cigarette butt bins, assist with Clean Up Australia Day, and get involved with Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB). Many also conduct their own anti-litter campaigns.
Rethink Waste is a statewide initiative, where local councils have joined together to encourage the community to reduce waste. They are active in promoting litter reduction.
Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
Keep Australia Beautiful, operates in every state and territory and advocates for a litter-free and sustainable Australia. KAB has almost 50 years of experience in engaging Australians to care for their local environments. KAB Tasmania operates Australian Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Awards and Sustainable Schools Grants Program.
Clean Up Australia has been operating since 1989. Clean Up Australia Day (the first Sunday in March) is Australia's largest community-based environmental event. Clean up days are also hosted by schools, businesses, councils and communities
Many communities play an active role in reducing litter. Such communities are often rewarded for their efforts in reducing litter, via the state and national Australian Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Awards.
Members of the community can also become involved by making a
report if they see someone littering or using
Report Rubbish to let land managers know the location of dumped rubbish.
Balloon releases and the law
Releasing balloons into the environment is littering and is illegal in Tasmania.
Under the Tasmanian Litter Act 2007, the penalty for littering a small item such as a balloon (which can end up on the ground or in the water) is
2 Penalty Units, which equates to $362 (based on 2022/23 financial year, increases annually). Mass releases of balloons may attract hefty fines.
If you witness littering in the form of a mass balloon release, take photos and record details of the event, and you can report this to the EPA on (03) 6165 4599.
If you see someone littering from a vehicle or vessel, you can report this via our
Report Littering page or call the Litter Hotline on 1300 135 513.
Plastic Shopping Bags
Lightweight plastic shopping bags were banned under the
Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2013 to reduce the number of lightweight shopping bags that become litter in our environment.
More information for consumers and retailers is available on our
Plastic Shopping Bags page.