What can I do about noise from garbage trucks?

About noise from garbage collection

Times allowed

Garbage collection is considered an 'essential' service and as such is not subject to any specific legislated time restrictions.

Why early mornings?

Garbage collection is usually scheduled when street traffic is low because this enables work to be completed safely, efficiently and with the least disruption to traffic. Garbage trucks stopping frequently on roads with high traffic volumes can cause danger to both motorists and the garbage collectors. Early morning collection times are used because traffic flows and ambient temperatures are relatively low.

Beeping from trucks

Reverse beeping or an equivalent warning system is compulsory under Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

Complaints about noise from garbage collection

If you are experiencing excessive noise from garbage collection, it is important to identify where the disturbance is coming from.

Report noise from residential garbage collection to your local council.

If the excessive noise is coming from garbage collections associated with commercial premises you can discuss the issue with the business concerned and let them know you are being affected. If this does not resolve the issue, then you can refer your complaint to the local council to investigate.

View a list of NSW councils

Before reporting

When reporting excessive noise from garbage trucks, it is helpful if you can provide the following details:

  • the name and/or address of the premises
  • the name of the waste management company
  • the garbage truck's vehicle registration number
  • the date and time of the observation.

What council can do

Most councils use contractors to provide their domestic garbage collection services. Councils can minimise disruption to residents through proper planning and the inclusion of best management practices in their contracts. Councils that have their own collection service should also be implementing these practices. Businesses use contractors for commercial garbage collections and councils can also require these businesses and their contractors to employ best management practices.

Some examples of best practices are:

  • setting appropriate times for the collection
  • relocating where the collection occurs
  • building noise barriers for the collection area if it is in one place
  • using up-to-date equipment which uses 'quieter' technology such as low-noise bin lifters
  • maintaining garbage trucks to minimise or eliminate noise from exhausts and squeaky brakes
  • educating drivers and collectors to be employ quiet work practices

Upon receiving complaints, council may be able to negotiate later collection times, alternative collection arrangements, or a rotational roster system whereby one street or suburb is not having an early collection every collection day.

Problems with reporting

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your local council, contact the Environment Line.
By phone: 131 555
By email: info@environment.nsw.gov.au