There are a number of things an individual can do to prevent littering. Ideas include:
OEH Research on litter reduction points to the need to integrate a number of approaches to reduce litter:
- community involvement
- infrastructure, such as signs, bins and recycling facilities
- financial insentives
The research indicates that most people agree that littering is bad, and that some individuals actively clean-up other people's litter of their own initiative. A key task for those designing and implementing local litter reduction strategies is to effectively utilise and extend community support for litter reduction.
Possible community involvement activities include:
- seeking community participation in the design and management of public space e.g. signage, placement of recycling and bin facilities, lighting and visibility of low-use open spaces from areas that are more frequently used
- clean-up days (Clean Up Australia)
- helping your local council to identify litter hot-spots
- conducting litter counts. For guidelines and a form to use for litter counts, see Keep Australia Beautiful.
- training interested citizens how to censure litterers in a positive and non-aggressive way
- community education projects
- reporting the details of littering from vehicles to OEH
The citizen participation literature suggests that three prerequisites for good participation in litter reduction projects are:
- choice of a litter problem that is of significant and immediate concern to the target group. For example residents near a beach are more likely to volunteer to clean-up the beach than they are to clean-up a park some distance from their immediate environment
- an inclusive style and concrete set of proposals and achievable outcomes. For example participation in a beach clean-up may be greater if the proposal is designed and presented so as to appeal to a variety of beach users and age-groups, and if a measurable target can be set (for example, by reference to successive litter counts over a stated period).
- broad and trusted partnerships between individuals, community groups, industry and government agencies. Participation is likely to be extended if a number of organisations are seen to be contributing. For example a beach clean-up may be more appealing to citizens if the local council offers to remove the rubbish, and the local chamber of commerce offers to provide the bags to collect it.
Local councils, government agencies and community organisations can help to extend litter awareness by displaying and using the images from the litter prevention media campaign provided in the Council Litter Prevention Campaign Resource Kit distributed by OEH.
Littering offences and fines have been broadened to deal with different types of litter. See The litter laws.
Councils and regulatory agencies can make sure that their officers understand the littering offences and the power to issue penalty notices.
Page last updated: 21 September 2012