Residents justify illegal dumping as an act for community good

Recent social research commissioned by MWRRG has found that attempted or actual charitable acts are often used as a justification for residential dumping of hard waste material.

The findings of the research into understanding the factors contributing to illegal dumping in metropolitan Melbourne were presented at the Coffs Harbour Waste Conference 2019 last week by Litter and Illegal Dumping Program Coordinator Jess Hand.

The research was commissioned after a survey of metropolitan councils found that Melbourne’s 31 councils are collectively spending at least $10.8 million per year cleaning up illegally dumped materials.

“Melbournians told us they don’t want their items to go to landfill. They want to give their items a second chance at life. People may justify putting items on the kerb as a form of giving, or a charitable act,” Jess said.

 The research also found that proximity to a transfer station made no difference to knowledge of disposal options, but older participants (over 50 years) were more aware of transfer stations, and more likely to use them. There was also an incorrect perception amongst participants that all hard waste collected by councils went to landfill.

“We need to make sure residents know how to rehome or recycle items responsibly, using charity stores, online marketplaces or council waste disposal channels,” Jess said.   

Full findings of the research will be presented at the forum, Kerbing illegal dumping - new directions, initiatives and legislative changes on 18 June, and will be made available on MWRRG’s website.

The research findings will help inform the development of an illegal dumping prevention resource kit for metropolitan councils.

For more information on the illegal dumping social research, or if you are interested in attending the forum, Kerbing illegal dumping - new directions, initiatives and legislative changes, please contact Program Coordinator Jess Hand on 8698 9841 or


Last updated: 20/05/2020