Leaf no trace: Stop illegal dumping of green waste

Leaf no trace: Stop illegal dumping of green waste

9 February 2024

Dumping green waste might seem like a harmless act, especially when it comes from nature itself, but dumping plants, weeds, soil and lawn clippings can seriously threaten our region’s primary industries, natural environment, livestock, human health and peoples’ livelihoods.

With warm and wet summer weather creating the perfect conditions for fast growing flora, Southern Downs Regional Council has seen a spike in illegal green waste dumping across the region and is calling on the community to see it, report it, stop it.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Leon Love said it’s easy to do the right thing and dispose of green waste responsibly and sustainably for free.

“Dumping green waste is an offence for very good reason. It not only harms the environment and is unsightly, it can also lead to harmful bio-security issues like pest infestations and soil degradation that can adversely affect our region’s biggest industry, which is agriculture,” Mr Love said.

“By reporting incidents of illegal green waste dumping, we protect our environment and industry, and also prevent the unnecessary expenditure of ratepayer funds on cleaning up avoidable mess.

“Domestic green waste can be disposed of for free at a local supervised waste facility, composted or mulched back into the garden, or placed in your red or green lidded wheelie bin.

“We all need to be mindful of our waste management practices to protect our environment and ensure that green waste finds its rightful place.”

Some negative impacts include:
• introducing pest plants that can out-compete native plant species, smothering them and overtaking natural areas;
• infesting and blocking watercourses, contaminating waterways and smothering surfaces of creeks and lakes;
• introducing pest animals or diseases into new areas, such as yellow crazy ants, fire ant and myrtle rust;
• blocking forest tracks and fire trails in natural areas that risk the lives of firefighters and members of the community;
• creating increased bush fire fuel loads or ignition sources; and
• attracting wildlife to roadsides to feed on organic waste and increasing the likelihood they will be hit by cars.

Illegal dumping of green waste is an offence and penalties apply. The cost of taking green waste to a local waste facility is much less than the penalty. Fines for illegal dumping range from $2,000 to $133,450 for an individual, and $6,500 to $667,250 for a corporation.

You can report illegal dumping to Council by contacting Customer Service on 1300 MY SDRC (1300 697 372) or via the MySDRC App.

More information is available at https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/environment-water-waste/pollution-neighbourhood-nuisances/littering-illegal-dumping.

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