Guidelines – Provision and Placement of Public Place Bins
1. Purpose
To provide Sutherland Shire Council (Council) staff direction for determining the appropriate
provision and placement of litter bins in open space settings, with the overall aim of reducing
litter in public open space.
2. Litter
What is 'litter' according to the law?
The definition of 'litter' under section 144A of the Protection of the Environment Operations
Act 1997 (POEO Act) is as follows:
'Litter' includes:
(a) 'any solid or liquid domestic or commercial refuse, debris or rubbish and, without
limiting the generality of the above, includes any glass, metal, cigarette butts, paper,
fabric, wood, food, abandoned vehicles, abandoned vehicle parts, construction or
demolition material, garden remnants and clippings, soil, sand or rocks, and
any other material, substance or thing deposited in a place if its size, shape, nature or
volume makes the place where it is deposited disorderly or detrimentally affects the
proper use of that place, deposited, in or on a place, whether or not it has any value
when or after being deposited in or on the place.'
What is 'depositing litter' according to the law?
The definition of 'depositing litter' under section 144A of the Protection of the Environment
Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) is:
'Depositing litter in or on a place includes:
(a) dropping or throwing litter in, on, into or onto the place, or
(b) leaving litter in or on the place, or
putting litter in such a location that it falls, descends, blows, is washed, percolates or
otherwise escapes or is likely to fall, descend, blow, be washed, percolate or
otherwise escape into or onto the place, or
(d) causing, permitting or allowing litter to fall, descend, blow, be washed, percolate or
otherwise escape into or onto the place.'
Examples of depositing litter
throwing confectionary wrappers and cigarette butts from a vehicle
leaving a food container under a park bench
stubbing a cigarette onto a footpath
allowing soil, sand or garden waste to blow from a moving vehicle
3. Sutherland Shire Council’s Approach to Litter
3.1 Education
Community education and awareness is a key to influencing littering behaviours.
Council’s Waste Services Unit undertakes the following responsibility with regards to litter:
Coordination of the Local Waste Management Plan (LWMP)
Development of education programs including communication campaigns
Grant submissions to address litter issues and the administering of any successful
grant applications.
3.2 Enforcement
Council’s Environment Protection Officers undertake enforcement measures in accordance
with Local Government Act 1993 and the State Government’s POEO Act 1997.
This includes illegally dumped residential or commercial waste.
3.3 Maintenance Programs
Council undertakes an extensive range of maintenance activities in an endeavour to keep
public areas litter free.
These programs are designed to:
Maintain a visually pleasing and acceptable public amenity
Maintain public health
Enhance the positive and safe image of the Shire, in support of Council’s corporate
Protect our drains and waterways from the intrusion of litter
Discourage littering behaviours, including illegal dumping
These programs include:
Litter patrols
Servicing public litter bins (emptying, cleaning, repairs & maintenance)
Street & footpath sweeping
Footpath stain removal/cleansing
Hard Waste Collection Service
Chemical collection program
Storm water (pit & pipe) inspection & cleaning program
3.4 Infrastructure
Litter bins are installed by Council at a variety of locations and settings throughout the Shire
in public open space areas. These bins are provided for use by the general public in order to
enable the legal disposal of litter.
They are not to be used for the disposal of residential or commercial waste.
4. Where is Litter Generated in Sutherland Shire?
Litter can be generated anywhere people congregate:
Public Buildings
Railway Stations and high use Bus Stops.
Litter from residential collections
Parks, sporting grounds and boat ramps
Shopping Centres / Shops (particularly those where fast food is served)
Roadside litter from passing traffic
Overflowing Kerbside Domestic Bins
Construction sites
Illegal dumping on roadways and reserves
5. What Prompts Consideration for Installation of Public Litter Bins?
Council targets its actions for specific sites considerate of:
Litter observations
Litter impacts on operational / maintenance activities
Community feedback
Sites of significance
Highly visible or high visitation areas
Presence of infrastructure eg, Playgrounds, BBQ,
Environmental impacts
6. What Factors Are Considered When Selecting A Bin?
Council will manage bins following recommended best practice for reducing littering in public
places as summarised below and customized to our particular needs.
[Source: Curnow et al. (2002); VSC (1999); Reeve et al. (2000) summarised reviews by
Huffman et al. (1995) and BIEC (1997a).]
Placing litter and recycling bins in locations that are convenient / accessible to the
public (i.e. located close to the source of litter, such as fast food outlets, ATMs and
exits from large public venues).
Undertaking site assessments to identify those bins that are the most heavily used
particularly near stormwater management systems and water bodies. These bins
should be subject to increased levels of inspection (and if necessary, maintenance).
Designing bins that catch the attention of the public and are easily identifiable. Bins are
to complement, not dominate or detract from, open space area.
The WH&S risk exposure to waste collectors is to be minimized wherever possible. For
this reason, wheelie bins are to be adopted as the primary bin type
Consistent Style
Enables public litter bins to be easily recognized.
Stock management is made easier.
Economies of scale are delivered for purchasing.
When designing bins, the bin opening should be small enough to discourage illegal
dumping, yet acceptable for standard litter items.
Cigarette butt litter is acknowledged as one of the most common forms of littering. For
this reason cigarette butt disposal units are to be incorporated into public litter bins.
Bins are to have closed tops to prevent disturbance of rubbish by animals and the
intrusion of rain water.
Decisions made regarding the size of bins should seek to minimise the required
emptying frequency while discouraging illegal dumping.
Assessing the need for specialist bins in specific locations (e.g. for cigarette butts,
sharps, etc).
Placements of politely worded signage close to where littering occurs
Keeping observable litter to a minimum (e.g. through frequent collections) as littering
rates are reduced in areas that are regularly cleaned: ‘clean equals clean’.
Typically, bins should be emptied before they reach 75 - 80% full. The service provider
that undertakes bin emptying should be responsible for clearing up unconfined litter
within a specified radius of the bin (e.g. two metres). The frequency of bin emptying
will vary depending on the location, however a general guide in urbanised areas is
Street litter bins will need emptying at least daily; and
Park litter bins will need emptying at least weekly.
Some sites will have seasonal variations eg beachfronts or be event specific.
Involving the community in litter management initiatives (e.g. involving users of public
areas in the design and placement of bin facilities).
Acting on behaviour (e.g. with rewards and/or sanctions, as appropriate).
Encouraging responsibility such as “carry in – carry out” policy for walking areas of
reserves and parks (e.g. behaviour change programs to encourage people to take
responsibility for carried litter and dog droppings).
Designing public open space to minimise areas that are hidden from public view.
Integrating programs (e.g. anti-littering educational strategies should be accompanied
by the provision of litter bin and recycling infrastructure and sound maintenance
Demonstrating commitment (e.g. agencies promoting anti-litter messages must lead by
Public Recycle Bins
For public recycling bins to be successful greater diligence is required by users in ensuring
that only ‘recyclables’ are deposited in the designated bin. Council’s experience to date has
shown that generally the amount of non-recycables (contamination) deposited is above an
acceptable fresh-hold, leading to the product being rejected and sent to landfill.
Council is yet to consider a formal post implementation review of recycling bins at several
trial sites. Without seeking to influence any decision in relation to the provision of recycling
bins in public spaces, the following expert advice [Quinn (1999)] has been included:
In relation to recycling bins the following key elements must exist for recycling to work in
public places:
The bins should be labelled using appropriate symbols and a recognisable and
consistent system of colours.
Bins should be grouped into stations with a litter bin at either end and recycling bins in
the middle.
Bins should only be provided for items which patrons easily identify with recycling.
Recycling bins should have locked lids and holes in the lids the size and shape of the
materials to be put in them.
Litter bins should have the lids open.
Bins should have overhead signs so that their location can be seen above a crowd.
7. Method of Council Assessing the Provision of Public Litter Bins in Public Places
7.1 Determining Bin Locations
The following assessment will be made when determining the requirement for a litter bin:
 Is there a litter problem?
 What is the extent of the litter problem?
 Who is the source of the litter?
Road users
Rubbish dumpers
Environment and location (wind, water , passing vehicles)
Animals (dogs if so responsibility of owners)
 What is the usage level or public exposure to the site?
Congregation levels (reference respective asset hierarchies)
 Is there a litter generating source or activity in the immediate area?
e.g. shop, bus stop, BBQ area, playground
 Will a bin be a cost effective measure to address the litter problem, include expected
frequency of emptying?
 Sites may need more than one evaluation if there is confusion with the alleged issue
and what is found on site. Site visit with requestor may be required.
7.2 Location Bin Quantities
New Bin Locations
Bin quantities at individual locations will be determined by anticipated litter volumes for all
new sites based on provision of bins at like sites and in accordance with adopted Council
service standards
Existing Bin Locations
Bin numbers will be adjusted up or down at locations based on:
Litter counts
Bin utilization rates
Cost analysis of bin installation versus bin emptying frequencies
Bin sizes options
Degree of illegal dumping
Proximity to litter source
7.3 Bin Installation
The specific installation of a bin will consider:
Littering observations
People movement / travel node
Proximity to the littering source
Site location / site use contributory impact
Impact on the immediate amenity
Access and maintenance
As this system is currently under trial, a benchmark score has yet to be adopted that will
confirm that a bin is to be installed. In the interim a score of 20 is regarded as the freshhold
to warrant installation of a bin.
Officer Name
Evaluation Date
Is there a Litter problem?
Yes = 2
No = 0
What is the extent of the Litter problem?
Severe = 5
Moderate = 3
Minor = 1
Non Existent = 0
Who is the source of the Litter?
Pedestrian = 3
Congregation Point = 3
Car/ vehicle = 1
Rubbish Dumper = 0
Should others deal with the litter?
If Yes, (immediate fail)
What is the usage level/ public exposure of the
High = 5
Moderate = 3
Minor = 1
Non Existent = 0
Is there a litter generating source/ activity
Immediate Area = 10
Eg, takeaway shop, ATM,
Within 50 metres = 1
Within 20 metres = 5
>50 metres = 0
Is there a BBQ/ picnic tables onsite
Yes = 3
No = 0
Will a bin be a cost effective measure to
address the litter issue?
Significant = 5
Moderate = 3
Minor = 1
Non Existent = 0
Do existing bins provide sufficient coverage?
If Yes, (immediate fail)
If No = 3
Will bin servicing present an unacceptable WHS If Yes, (immediate fail)
7.4 Prioritising
Although the need for a bin(s) may be established, financial constraints may influence the
installation and emptying of litter bins.
The following methodology is to be used to prioritize the installation of public litter bins:
Public health & safety
Quantity of litter in area
Cultural/ Tourism significance of the site
Aesthetic impact in local areas
Use of the site e.g. used for regular sporting activities versus unused reserve.
Each of the criteria is weighted to reflect Council priorities. As this system is under trial,
initially a score of 20 or more will be required for a bin, evaluated as required, to be installed.
Quantity of
Health and Litter
Weighting High = 10
High = 4
Medium = 5 Medium = 3
Low = 2
Low = 1
High = 4
High = 10
Medium = 2
Low = 1
High = 3
Medium = 2
Low = 1

Guideline Provision and Placement of Public Place bins