In 1995, the Victorian Litter Reduction Strategy provided a clear framework for state and local governments and other land managers to reduce and prevent litter, through data collection, community education, land management and product stewardship. A new Litter Strategy is currently being developed by Sustainability Victoria, Victorian Litter Action Alliance (VLAA) and the Environment Protection Authority.
The Environment Protection Act 1970 prohibits and regulates the deposit of litter in the environment, regulates the distribution of materials that may become litter and also allows for the removal of detrimental or disorderly objects and other things.
The Act defines litter as any solid or liquid domestic or commercial waste, refuse, debris or rubbish and, without limiting the generality of the above, includes any waste glass, metal, plastic, paper, fabric, wood, food, soil, sand, concrete or rocks, abandoned vehicles, abandoned vehicle parts and garden remnants and clippings, but does not include any gases, dust or smoke or any waste that is produced or emitted during, or as a result of, any of the normal operations of the mining, building or manufacturing industry or any primary industry.
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia, making up a staggering 58% of all items littered. Other frequently littered items include PET bottles, fast food wrappers, chewing gum, plastic chip and confectionery bags, ATM receipts, plastic bags, paper, glass alcoholic beverage bottles and polystyrene.
VLAA was established in April 2000 to coordinate the efforts of organisations across the state to combat the problem of litter. VLAA members coordinate their own litter prevention activities, but more importantly, VLAA aims to provide coordinated successful litter prevention programs for the whole state based on what works.
Go to www.litter.vic.gov.au to check out VLAA and the various campaign kits that are available to assist litter projects as diverse at cigarette butts, dog poo and building sites.
Locally the HRWMG has coordinated a range of projects. The most recent are:
- Don't be a Tosser Tertiary Butt Litter Campaign 2007/08 (PDF)
- Dob in a Dumpsite - Illegal Dumping Campaign 2010 (PDF)
- Western Highway Roadside Litter Prevention Campaign 2010 (PDF)