- Who Litters?
Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules about who litters. Many of us can litter even when we don’t realise it because of our beliefs. For example we could hold the belief that some litter is less dangerous than others as it ‘breaks down’ more readily (green waste or animal droppings).
- Why they litter?
Littering behaviour can be influenced by peer pressure, and the sense that no one is watching especially in remote places or places that are visited less often (bushland or national parks).
“Carelessness, laziness and habit are some of the contributing factors to littering behaviour (Torgler & Macintyre, 2008) and in a recent region wide study, more than 50% of respondents identified laziness as the key reason for littering, followed by lack of education at 18%” (Rockloff et al 2016:33).“The reasons behind littering behaviour is varied, but if an environment is perceived to be clean, then bins will be used more regularly and people will litter less”
(Wilson, S & Verlis, K 2016:5). Perception of cost to dispose thoughtfully is also a reason people may litter or illegally dump. The key to changing littering behaviour is education that attempts to convey personal responsibility, a sense of pride in one’s place/environment and raise awareness of the more complex issues surrounding litter and littering.
What can you do?
It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent litter from entering stormwater.
- Dispose of your waste responsibly – hold onto it until you can bin it.
- If you see litter, pick it up and bin it! You will be doing our marine turtles and other animals a favour.
- Choose food and other items that have minimal packaging, and use reusable bags to carry your groceries. Keep a stash of extra bags in the car.
- Suggest that a bin for cigarette butts be installed outside your workplace, local pub or shopping centre.
- Carry a small container with you to store your cigarette butts until you can bin them.
- Recycle. Most of our rubbish can be recycled – make every effort to place plastic and glass items into recycle bins.
- Secure garbage placed in your bin to stop it blowing around your street.
- Shopping catalogues and other ‘junk’ mail can blow out of letterboxes and fly down the street. Consider putting a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your letterbox.
- Secure your load when transporting rubbish to the dump.
- Report people who you see littering to the authorities.
Think about the potential impact of green waste from your garden on the environment and follow these guidelines:
- Keep your gutters or drains free of green waste. Blow grass clippings and leaves into a pile and compost them, rather than leaving them in the gutter or on the road where they can end up in stormwater.
- Understand how water flows over your land during heavy rainfall (overland flow). Locate compost piles away from areas where water flows and contain the compost within a raised garden bed or bin.
- Compost green waste or take it to your local landfill or transfer station.
- If you are transporting green waste, make sure it is properly secured.
- Replace weeds or exotic plants in your garden with local native plants, especially if you live adjacent to sensitive natural areas such as bushland, wetland, foreshore, riverbank or gully. Using native species to create a buffer between your garden and the natural environment can help prevent the spread of weeds.
- Consider replacing lawn with native ground covers.
- Report any green waste that escapes from an uncovered trailer or that you see being illegally dumped to your local Council.
Building or renovating? Building and house renovation products have no business on roadsides, in bushland or stormwater drains. If you are painting, concreting, sanding, laying bricks, rendering, landscaping or doing anything that spreads waste around your construction site remember the three Cs of Control it, Contain it and Clean it up. Download the Building or Renovating Factsheet to discover ways to maintaining a litter free construction site.
- Keep your site tidy.
- Isolate waste away from drains.
- Clean up and dispose of waste in the correct way.