Why is litter a big deal?

Lake Illawarra is a significant natural resource within the region and is immensely valuable from an ecological, social, cultural, and economic perspective. Litter has been identified as a high-level threat to the lake and the Luv the Lake initiative aims to address this. 

Litter along our foreshore and in our environment is a big hazard, and this is why we need to prevent it: 

  • It is a pollutant to our environment 
  • It is a hazard to terrestrial and marine life through entanglement and ingestion 
  • It can disrupt waterways when it enters drainage pipes and sewer channels, which when blocked can cause flooding 
  • It can attract pest animals to the area 
  • It can cause accidental harm to humans, particularly litter items such as glass, needles and syringes 
  • It makes an area look dirty and uncared for, unpleasant to be in, and less likely to be enjoyed by the community  
  • Littered areas are likely to keep attracting more litter, leading to compounded littering 


How can you help?

You can do your bit to Luv the Lake by helping to reduce litter in your local community: 

Bin all litter  

Bin all litter, ensuring that you use the correct bin. Sorting waste accordingly can make a big difference for our City and the environment. If rubbish is not sorted correctly this means more waste ends up in landfill, which as it begins to decompose releases greenhouse gases like methane. Learn about what can go in your bins here. 


Bin your butts  

Avoid heavy fines and harm to our natural ecosystems by disposing of your cigarette butts correctly. Firstly, make sure it’s stubbed out and then put it in a street litter bin ashtray or wall mounted ashtray.    


Say no to single-use items 

You can opt for alternatives such as: 

  • Reusable coffee cups (e.g. stainless steel keep cup) 
  • Reusable drink bottles (e.g. stainless steel bottles) 
  • Reusable straws (e.g. stainless steel or silicon straws) 
  • Reusable shopping bags (e.g. cotton shopping bags) 
  • Reusable produce bags (e.g. cotton produce bags) 
  • Reusable containers (e.g. glass containers) 
  • Reusable utensils (e.g. portable stainless steel cutlery sets) 
  • Reusable food wraps (e.g. bees wax wraps or silicon covers) 
  • Reusable wipes (e.g. washable cloths) 


Recycle your soft plastics 

Take your soft plastics to your local REDcycle drop off at Woolworths or Coles. 


Utilise Return and Earn 

Return and Earn is a rewarding way to recycle your drink containers, including: 

  • Cans (e.g. soft drinks) 
  • Bottles (e.g. beer bottles) 
  • Cartons (e.g. milk cartons) 
  • Juice boxes or poppers 


Take 3 For the Sea 

Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach or waterway and you have made a difference.  


Report littering to the EPA 

You can report littering from vehicles to the EPA via this website: Report to EPA (nsw.gov.au) 


Participate in clean-up events 

We will be running a big clean up event in November – keep an eye out for details. 


Engage in conversations with litterers in your community 

If you see somebody littering, sometimes a friendly conversation around the impacts of litter can help foster behaviour change.  

Last updated : Thu 25 Aug 2022