Know your responsibilities: managing garden waste
Important information for landscaping, tree and gardening service providers and those managing garden waste
- Transport and dispose of waste lawfully
- Avoid hefty fines and clean-up costs
What is 'garden waste'?
Waste is not just rubbish and unwanted material, but also includes garden waste such as:
- branches and lopped material
- lawn clippings
- tree trunks and stumps
- unwanted and dead plants.
Cover your load
Uncovered loads of garden waste can spill onto the road and create a hazard for other road users. Leaves, branches and mulch from uncovered vehicles can also wash into stormwater drains and pollute waterways.
Dispose of garden waste lawfully
Section 143 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 requires waste to be transported to a place that can lawfully accept it.
Check beforehand that the waste facility can legally accept your garden waste.
Consider reusing garden waste. For example, you may be able to shred it to produce raw mulch.
If you are reusing garden waste, make sure that your have the landowner's permission before applying it to their land.
If someone is transporting garden waste on your behalf, make sure you keep records such as who transported the waste (company name, ABN, vehicle registration and driver details, date and time of transport, description of waste); where the waste was transported to (name and address of the contact person and place); and copies of dockets/receipts for disposal of the waste (date and time of delivery, description of waste).
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What are the real costs of illegally dumping garden waste?
Illegal dumping destroys native bushland and animal habitats by introducing disease, weeds and pests. It also increases the risk of bushfires.
Illegal dumping attracts more illegal dumping and other criminal activities, descreases community pride and discourages people from visiting affected areas.
Illegal dumping costs local and state governments and the community more than $10 million a year in prevention and clean-up costs.
Don't risk a $5,000 fine, penalties of up to $5 million or 7 years in jail for illegally dumping waste.
What happens when illegal dumpers get caught?
- On-the-spot fines of up to $5,000.
- Prosecution, with penalties of up to $5 million or 7 years in jail.
- Imposition of clean-up costs.
- Issue of legal notices.
- Potential loss of business.
EPA, other agencies such as local councils, and Regional Illegal Dumping Squads conduct regular campaigns and surveillance operations which target illegal dumping hot spots.
Did you know that both the owner of the waste and the transporter are legally responsible for proving the waste was transported to a lawful place?
If you suspect someone is illegally dumping waste, contact the EPA's Environment Line on 131 555.
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Page last updated: 12 July 2012