Litter free Penrith
- Written by: Teela Griffin Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Let's keep Penrith litter free
Penrith is the place we call home. We take pride in the people, places and things that make us who we are. The natural beauty of Penrith is far reaching, from our clean, open spaces, to the Nepean River that is our lifeblood. As a community, that is why we keep our environment clean by taking our litter with us or placing it in a bin, to protect our natural resources, keep a positive outlook about our future, and creating a better tomorrow, in one of Australia’s most liveable cities, Penrith.
Small changes can lead to new habits that can inspire others. Choosing not to litter and to take responsibility for our waste can reduce effects on our community and local environment, as any little piece of litter can have detrimental impacts.
But just how big is the problem?
- Each year over 25,000 tonnes of litter is tossed in NSW. That’s the equivalent of 3,571 waste truck loads
- Takeaway containers are 31.6% of the litter volume in NSW.
- For every Australian, there are 5 pieces of litter on beaches.
- 20% of wildlife entanglements are caused by littered plastics.
- Dog poo contains 23 million microorganisms of bacteria – nearly twice that of human waste.
Common littered items
In Penrith, litter is seen near fast food premises, sports and playground facilities, along railway stations and at bus stops.
Common littered items include:
- Dog poo bagged in plastic is seen along public reserves, specifically the Nepean River walk and dog parks.
- Takeaway food and single-use plastic items such as containers, cutlery and straws.
- Single-use coffee cups.
- Confectionary and snacks such as wrappers from lollies and ice creams and chip packets.
- Cigarette butts.
- Drink containers such as plastic and glass bottles, cans and milkshake containers.
- Plastic bags.
Why is litter harmful?
It's inconvenient to be out and about and have some rubbish you want to dispose of and can’t find a bin, but please think of the consequences to our community if we choose to litter.
Litter damages our natural environments, harms wildlife, injures people and makes our public spaces less pleasant to be in. Cleaning up litter also costs taxpayers a lot of money.
People who walk dogs contribute to the amount of litter found in public spaces. There are 1.15 million dogs in NSW. Dogs generate about 227 grams of dog poo each day. This adds up to over 280 tonnes of dog poo being generated each day in NSW. Just 28 grams of dog poo contains 23 million microorganisms of bacteria – nearly twice that of human waste.
The Nepean River is a natural asset that many people in Penrith engage with, whether it’s enjoying water sports or walking alongside the beautiful vista. People don’t realise that if any litter is dropped on the ground, there are many consequences:
- Animals can eat it and become sick.
- Animals such as ducks can become tangled.
- People can get injured.
- When the wind and rain carry litter into storm water drains, it runs out into the Nepean River and pollutes it.
Cigarette butt litter
Did you know that one cigarette butt can take up to 10 years to completely break down? Being so small, the wind and rain can easily transport them into stormwater drains which run out to nearby waterways and bushland. In only one hour, chemicals from cigarette butts can start to leach into the water and continue to do so until they break down, affecting the water quality and harming wildlife.
Cigarette butts don’t just create a mess and smell, when they are flicked from a car window or onto the ground, they have previously caused up to 1,959 fires across a single year in NSW (source: NSW Fire Brigade).
Did you know you can get fined for littering? Littering is subject to a tiered range of fines under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997:
- $450 for littering a lit cigarette
- $80 for littering small items, such as bottle tops and cigarette butts.
- $250 for general littering.
- $250 for an individual littering from a vehicle. ($500 for corporations.)
- $450 for littering in aggravated or dangerous circumstances, such as a syringe ($900 for corporations).
- $450 for littering a facemask during the COVID-19 pandemic
What can you do?
- Please use the bins even if they are short walk away
- Let’s keep our community clean by binning our butts when they are extinguished
If there isn’t a bin nearby, you can:
- Keep a small container with you and pop cigarette butts in there until you find a bin
- Bag your litter and place it in the car until you get home.
- Take your beverage containers to a Return and Earn station and get 10c back for every bottle. All you have to do is collect your bottles, cans and cartons and take them to your nearest return point to earn your refund.
- Take a Council provided green compostable bag with you to pick up your dog's droppings while on walks and dispose of it in your FOGO bin when you get home.
- Take a reusable cup or bottle with you when you leave the house. Purchasing reusable bottles for water or reusable cups for beverages significantly reduces the amount of plastic left behind simply because you can reuse it over and over!
- Use the water refill stations.
Water refill stations
Since installing water refill stations in 2018, Penrith has saved 209,968 plastic bottles and 2,688kg of plastic waste from landfill, litter and waterways!
Looking for a water refill station? You can find them at:
- 2x stations at Jamison Park, South Penrith
- 1x station at Werrington Lakes Werrington
- 1x station at Cheds Town Reserve, Glenmore Park
- 1x station at Victoria Park, St Marys
- 1x station at Dukes Oval, Emu Plains
- 1x station at the Kingsway Playing Fields, St Marys
- 1x station at Cook Park, St Marys
- 1x station at Cranebrook Skate Park, Cranebrook
- 1x station at Robin Wiles Park, North St Marys
Plus, many other water fountains and taps can be found at fields across the Penrith Local Government Area.