How to report litter

How to report litter


Litter thrown from a motor vehicle.

EPA has a key role to play in protecting Victorians and the environment from litter.

EPA has a public litter reporting program that allows Victorians to report anyone they see littering in association with, or from, a vehicle.

You can report litter online, by mobile, using a form or by making a call.

Fines for littering can range from more than $322 for a dropped cigarette butt to over $6000 if the matter ends up in court.

More than 50,000 Victorians are registered litter reporters. Here are some of the questions they ask us about the program.

Q and A on how to report litter + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is required of me when I make a litter report?

    In order to report litter to EPA, you must confirm that:

    • you understand EPA’s terms and conditions
    • you understand you have an obligation to submit accurate reports
    • you understand it is an offence to knowingly provide false or misleading information
    • you are prepared to attend court as a witness if required.
  • Why do I need to register to report litterers?

    We need your name, address and contact details in case we need to contact you about the report.

  • What types of litter can I report?

    You can report to EPA a person who littered from a vehicle or a person who littered in association with a vehicle.

    If a person drops a cigarette butt on the ground and then gets into a car and drives away, we can take action against the vehicle owner. If the alleged offender was a passenger, the owner of the vehicle will be required to nominate the passenger.

    The types of litter you can report are:

    • cigarette butts
    • organic waste (e.g., food or apple cores)
    • liquids
    • metal (e.g., aluminium cans)
    • glass (e.g., beer bottles)
    • plastic (e.g., food packaging)
    • fabric.

    Other forms of litter must be reported to your local council or other relevant agency. These include:

    • installation of posters without consent
    • windblown litter from commercial premises or construction sites.

    Unsolicited advertising material in mailboxes and on parked cars should be reported to the Distributions Standards Board on 1800 676 136.

  • Can I report interstate vehicles?

    EPA can only process reports for Victorian-registered motor vehicles.

    VicRoads is in the process of upgrading its registration and licensing system. Once this is complete, we will be able to consider taking action on reports of vehicles from other states. We encourage you to continue to report litterers.

  • Can I report litter from a vehicle in a car park?

    Yes. Although a car park may seem to be private property (for example, owned by a shopping centre), litter laws consider car parks as public roadways.

  • How long do I have to lodge a litter report?

    To help us process reports promptly, please submit them within seven days of the offence.

  • What information do I have to include with my litter reports?

    EPA requires the following information to be able to take action on a litter report:

    • registration number
    • vehicle description, including –
      • make
      • body type (sedan, utility, van etc.)
      • colour
      • model (if possible)
    • location where the incident occurred – road, suburb or town, nearest cross street (if possible)
    • when the incident occurred – 
      • date
      • time (including am or pm)
    • type of litter – 
      • lit cigarette
      • unlit cigarette
      • litter/small item of litter (you will need to provide a description of the item – was it food or beverage packaging etc.?)
    • description of the person who littered (if possible) – 
      • gender
      • hair colour
      • approximate age
      • other identifying information
      • position in the vehicle (for example, driver, rear left passenger).

    If we don't have all this information, we may not be able to process your report, so please provide as much information as you can. Be sure to keep all handwritten notes after completing the online form, in case we need to contact you to clarify the information or to use the notes in court.

    A report will be processed within 28 days from the date of the offence.

  • Should I provide photos, videos or any other supporting evidence?

    Safety first! Your health and safety are more important than reporting littering from a vehicle. If you are driving, ask a passenger to record the details. It is against the law to use your mobile phone while driving.

    If it is safe to do so, and you are not driving, we encourage you to take photos, videos or voice recordings and submit them via email to contact@epa.vic.gov.au with the registration number of the vehicle in the subject line. They provide a useful record and can form part of the evidence if the offender chooses to have the matter heard in court.

    If you have taken photos or videos of the incident, it is good practice to cross-check the date and time of when the photos or videos were taken.

    EPA urges you to keep your notes in a log book and any other useful evidence you may have for two years after submitting a report, in case we need to contact you to clarify any information.

  • How does EPA validate litter reports?

    When a report is made, reporters are required to confirm they understand EPA’s terms and conditions; that they have an obligation to submit accurate reports; that it is an offence to knowingly provide false or misleading information; and that they are prepared to attend court as a witness if required.

    Once the report is received, EPA enforcement officers take several steps to assess each report before a fine is issued. The vehicle details provided in the report are verified against VicRoads records and officers check all mandatory information.

    A fine will only be issued if all of the information is complete and correct.

    After a fine has been issued, EPA may contact you to clarify information in the event that the fine is disputed by the infringement recipient.

  • How much is a fine?

    Fines range from $322 for a small piece of rubbish or unlit cigarette to $645 for a lit cigarette or burning litter.

  • What is the likelihood of having to go to court as a witness?

    The likelihood of having to attend court as a witness to the alleged offence is low. However, as with all fines, the recipient has the option to have the matter determined by a court, so it is important you can attend as a witness, if required.

    You should keep notes and any photographs or videos about your littering report, as there can be quite a time lag between a fine being issued and any possible court appearance.

  • What can I expect if I have to go to court as a witness?

    If the recipient of a penalty notice chooses to have the matter heard in court, it is likely you will be asked to provide a written statement of what you saw. Your statement may be provided to the offender before the matter is heard in court.

    As a witness under oath, you may be cross-examined by the accused’s legal representative or by the accused themselves. The presiding magistrate or judicial registrar may also ask questions.

  • Is compensation available if a person takes time off work to attend court?

    Reasonable expenses may be reimbursed for witnesses, including the costs of attending court.

  • What will happen if I register and report an offence but refuse to attend court if requested?

    When you submit a report, you declare that you agree to attend court if required.

    If you later refuse to attend court, the matter may be dropped and any fine for littering withdrawn. Depending on the circumstances, we may not accept any further reports from you.

  • Who will have access to my details? Will they be given to the person who littered?

    EPA will have access to your details but will not release any information to anyone else unless the offender chooses to have the matter dealt with in court.

    If you have reported a person for littering and that person chooses to have the matter heard before a court, by law your name is to be provided to the offender in a brief of evidence. Before this happens, your consent will be required.

Page last updated on 20 May 2019