OPINION

'Illegal dumping is a problem for western Sydney'

'Illegal dumping is a problem for western Sydney'

Illegal dumping is a problem for western Sydney councils, costing millions of dollars per year to clean up - but it's not just a matter of old mattresses left on remote back roads.

Many people don't realise that that it is illegal to leave unwanted stuff out on the kerb for other people to take, yet this is the most common form of dumping that occurs in NSW. In fact, illegal dumping is, by definition, the disposal of any waste that is larger than litter, on land or water, without correct approvals.

Dumped goods create multiple problems for councils and the public, including obstructing thoroughfares, creating an eyesore, contaminating public places and harming health. Each year, dumped waste costs councils over $11 million to manage and clean up. There can be a widespread perception in communities that leaving furniture on the kerb is a legitimate form of recycling. It's not!

To address this problem, councils and the NSW state government co-fund regional illegal dumping (RID) squads, working across local government boundaries to patrol identified hotspots, and deter and inform community members. As well as this, RID squads can issue on-the-spot fines: if caught, individuals can be slugged up to $4000; for corporations it's up to $8000.

Barry Calvert, WSROC president

Barry Calvert, WSROC president

WSROC is helping Western Sydney communities to understand the problem of illegal dumping and to find ways to dispose of their waste correctly, by promoting awareness and providing information. Currently, the 'Moving House?' campaign aims to avoid illegal dumping by people who are relocating, with a comprehensive checklist and '5 Mistakes to Avoid' that help with planning ahead.

Recently, nine Western Sydney councils have also taken part in the 'Problem Waste? No Problem!' campaign led by WSROC, which identifies tricky waste items commonly found in households and helps community members find ways to dispose of them responsibly.

There are lots of ways to dispose of things that won't fit in the bin, or items that might be salvageable. Many councils offer free bulky waste collections to manage unwanted items, or Community Recycling Centres (CRC's), where common hazardous waste items can be disposed of for free. These services vary from council to council and it's best to get in touch to find out what's available in your area. Online marketplaces and second-hand dealers offer alternative ways to recycle goods that are still in reasonable condition.

Most people do the right thing and ensure that unwanted bulky waste items are disposed of responsibly. The best approach is to sell, donate, gift and recycle what you can, and arrange a local council collection for unwanted furniture, whitegoods and small appliances that remain.

Top 5 Tips to make your move smooth

  1. Get organised - have a checklist
  2. Don't leave packing to the last minute
  3. Pack an essentials bag with everything you will need for the 48 hours after you move
  4. Declutter - Sell, donate, gift or recycle what you don't need
  5. Don't leave stuff on the kerb: Book a council clean up