Council clean-ups are becoming more and more popular across Australia as local governments work toward reaching environmental targets and promoting sustainability within their communities.

While walking out the door to see piles of rubbish in front of all of your neighbours’ homes may be unsightly, these clean-up programs are actually helping to prevent items from being illegally dumped and causing unsafe situations. It’s also encouraging people to upcycle the items they’re finding on the streets.

But things are not as straightforward as leaving your junk on the side of the road to be collected. There are a few rules around council clean up you should know first, and some tips on how to do things to help protect our environments.
rules of council clean up

 
Is it illegal to leave items out with no pick-up scheduled?

Yes, it sure is! If you’re leaving items out the front of your house with no clean-up scheduled or even outside of reasonable time periods around scheduled collections, you can be hit with an illegal dumping fine. This also applies if you leave items out that aren’t valid for collection such as concrete and bricks, household waste, car parts, liquids and chemicals.

Is it against the law to take items people leave on the kerb?

Each local council will have a different rule but generally speaking, it’s ok to take items people leave out for collection. In fact, some councils encourage salvaging these items to prevent them going to landfill.

What is against the law though, is taking any items that are contained in a bin or council approved collection bag.

What about green or garden waste, is it illegal to dump organic matter?

Short answer, yes. If you don’t have a designated bin for green waste or it fills up before the next council pick-up, you can get in some serious trouble for dumping it, even if you do take it to a local parkland or reservoir.

Illegal dumping of garden waste destroys our eco-systems and can have serious environmental impacts. Illegal dumpers of organic and green waste face on the spot fines of up to $5000. We really don’t think it’s worth it!

 

Some tips for leaving your items out

  • Consider if you have another option first such as donating or selling the item. Most councils are upfront about the fact that the majority of collected items don’t get recycled due to the condition of the item as well as limited resources. Finding a new home for the item first is more environmentally sustainable.

  • Check with your local council about specific requirements first. Some will ask you to separate your items into categories that make it easy for them to be collected such as furniture in one pile and electrical goods in another.

  • Ensure your items are stacked neatly so they’re not obstructing any path or walk ways and make sure they’re stacked safely. The last thing you want is a precarious pile of your stuff toppling over onto an innocent passer-by.

  • Don’t leave out any dangerous goods such as chemicals, mirrors or glassware. It’s illegal to dispose of chemicals improperly and you can face hefty fines. Not only that, it’s really dangerous. As for mirrors and glass items, you run the risk of it getting broken leaving shards of glass to potentially hurt people. Most councils won’t clean this is up so it’ll be up to you if something gets broken.

 
Some tips for taking items

  • If possible, seek the permission of the owner of the items before you take them. Simply knocking on the door and asking if you can take something is the courteous way to approach the situation.

  • Be careful not to break anything when searching through items. In breaking something, you’re taking away the chance for someone else to be able to recycle it. You’re also risking that item being left behind if council decides not to broken items.

  • Leave everything you’re not taking as you found it. This comes back to the point above about having to sort items on the kerbside into categories. Be respectful and ensure anything you move and don’t take goes back to where you took it from.

 

If you’ve spotted something on the kerbside that you’ve just got to have, or want to take your furniture to a recycling centre rather than leave it out, GoGet have vans and utes available to make easy for you to transport bulky goods. There’s no monthly fee and you only pay by the hour. Learn more here!