Greater Sydney Harbour Regional Litter Prevention Strategy

The Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) and Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) have been successful in securing a $90,000 grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in the Own It and Act: Round 6 Community Litter Grant funding stream. The grant covers the development of a Regional Litter Prevention Strategy (RLPS) for the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment. The RLPS is being developed in partnership with three pilot Councils of Parramatta City, Inner West and Willoughby.

The many communities across Greater Sydney Harbour want clean and healthy waterways and public places. The community is also concerned about the broader impact of litter on marine life. Community volunteers from across the catchment have many innovative projects to encourage their communities to pick up litter. The RLPS responds to the aspirations of communities for healthy waterways and the marine environment and will set a way forward for litter prevention.

The project began in February this year, with the employment of the Project Coordinator and creation of the project Steering Committee, comprising of representatives from the three pilot Councils, community members and industry. Progress to date includes meeting key stakeholders, visiting littering hot spot areas in some of the catchment areas, collating littering data and identifying litter prevention actions in consultation with Council staff and community groups. A community perception survey around littering and littering behaviour was completed in August and results are informing the priority actions in the RLPS. A draft RLPS is being finalised and will be out for consultation in early November. The project will finish by the end of 2021.

The RLPS will be a ‘proof of concept’ to be rolled out across the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment in partnership with councils and their communities.


Project Snapshot


The strategy targets 60% less litter reaching the Greater Sydney Harbour by 2030 which reflects the NSW Government target. The RLPS objectives are to:

  1. Provide a regional approach to litter prevention
  2. Reduce the volume of litter entering Sydney Harbour and associated waterways through litter prevention
  3. Embed litter reduction activities into council policy, strategy and programs.


A regional approach to litter prevention:

Litter is a cross catchment issue that doesn’t adhere to council boundary lines. A regional approach will improve information sharing, targeted litter reduction campaigns, increasing enforcement and improving capture of litter. The RLPS will set a framework for councils and community to collaborate in a regional approach to litter prevention.

Reducing the volume of litter through litter prevention:

The Marine Estate Management Authority’s Community Survey identified that water pollution is considered the greatest threat to the marine estate by the NSW community. For the Greater Sydney Harbour Catchment, much of this pollution comes from stormwater discharge. Data collected by Transport for NSW has identified that non-organic mater accounts for approximately 40% of the debris collected from Sydney Harbour each year. The RLPS will set out a range of actions to reduce the volume of litter with a primary focus on litter prevention.

Embedding litter reduction into council policies, strategies and programs:

The development of the RLPS is being undertaken in close collaboration with the three pilot councils to ensure valuable information is included and gaps are identified to help form a clear framework and pathway for embedding litter reduction activities into council policy, strategy and programs. The EPA’s Own It and Act Framework helps understanding of where litter prevention fits into an organisation and how to improve approaches to litter prevention. Adoption of the Own It and Act Framework in conjunction with the RLPS will provide a strong foundation for litter prevention.

Preventing Cigarette Butt Littering: A Resource Package for Local Government


The SCCG has prepared a resource package to assist Councils and other interested stakeholders to encourage the correct disposal of cigarette butts.

Aim and Objectives

The Preventing Cigarette Butt Litter in the Sydney Coastal Region project purpose was to provide Member Councils, other authorities and the community with a range of best practice tools and information that they can implement to address cigarette butt littering in their local area.

Outcomes / Outputs

The principle outcome of the project is an innovative resource package that provides Councils and in turn the community with information on the extent and problems of cigarette butt littering, legislation, enforcement ideas, bins and devices available and a range of example education initiatives. Secondary outcomes have been greater community awareness of the effects of cigarette butt littering and a reduction in cigarette butt litter.

Contents of the Resource Package:

  • Introduction (Concept and how to use the package)
  • Facts and Figures (Extent of littering and effect of the pollution).Bins and Devices (Example bins and devices to assist correct disposal).
  • Legislation (Relevant to littering and smoking area restrictions).
  • Enforcement (Licensing, PINs, MOUs, property leases, standard conditions for development).
  • Education (Education projects, activities, media releases, posters, stickers).
  • Relevant Contacts and Internet Site Details.

For a hard copy of the Resource Package or for more information please contact SCCG.

Plastic in the Marine Environment



Plastic is finding its way into the environment, particular waterways, coasts and beaches. A great deal is manufactured from non-biodegradable materials which have many environmental and related implications.

In response to concerns raised by the Full Group about the prevalence of plastic on beaches and in waterways (particularly plastic parking tickets and infringement notices), a technical report was produced by the Secretariat to develop an understanding of its risks and implications. The report details, in general terms, the nature and impacts of plastic in the marine environment and the policies and procedures implemented by Member Councils. A copy is available by clicking here.

Member Councils recognise that the issue of parking and infringement tickets in the environment presents an opportunity to reduce cost, decrease consumption and waste, and improve efficiency and sustainability outcomes. Councils have the ability to reduce the environmental impact of parking systems and reductions align with public sector responsibilities and sustainability objectives. In this regard, the Secretariat has also prepared a Good Practice Guideline addressing sustainability in parking management. It aims to translate sustainability objectives into an action plan, tiered according to each Council’s particular policies and strategies. The Guideline is intended to be a living document and updated and reviewed as required.