Tackling litter in Byron Shire

butt free byron beaches sign

About litter

For every Australian there are 5 pieces of litter on our beaches.

Each year, over 25,000 tonnes of litter is tossed in NSW. But we can make a difference. Reducing littering is important for the health of the environment and of our communities. Everyone is responsible for their own litter, and if you litter you can be fined.

Not only does litter pose a major threat to the local environment and wildlife, both land and marine, it also costs ratepayers. There are significant clean-up costs, and it can have a negative impact on local businesses and the tourism industry. Litter impacts us all and can prevent us from enjoying our local community spaces such as parks, beaches, rivers and town centres.

Litter in Byron Bay

Byron Shire Council Resource Recovery Ambassadors collected data on litter in Apex Park Byron Bay and found that over 50% of all litter is smoking related. Subsequently, Council investigated smoking related litter hotspots in the Byron Shire including Byron town centre, Suffolk Park, Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads, Coolaman Scenic Drive, Bangalow and Federal and found smoking related items equated for 82% of the litter collected!

Local non-for-profit group Positive Change For Marine Life has run fortnightly beach cleans on Main Beach Byron Bay since 2012, collecting over 400,000 items of litter largely consisting of cigarette butts.

How are we tackling the problem?

BSC has partnered with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to conduct a ‘Butt Free Byron Shire’ campaign. This is based on the EPA’s four pillars for litter reduction.

As part of this campaign we have installed brand new enviropoles around the Shire. 


Council has installed over 123 new public place butt bins across the shire. The new butt bins have a higher overall capacity, extinguishes the butt using a liquid medium, can collect data and are able to RECYCLE the cigarette butts into plastic products!


Throughout the Butt Free Byron Shire campaign, ongoing education programs will run including clean ups, events, partnerships with local organisations, and increased public engagement with visitors and the community.

During the Butt Free Byron Shire campaign, Council Rangers are stepping up surveillance of litter hotspots. Rangers are helping to educate the community and encourage correct rubbish disposal, as well as issuing warnings and on-the-spot fines for people doing the wrong thing.

Council is conducting local litter checks of hotspots around the Shire, recording information about the volume, location and types of litter. This will allow us to address specific problems and measure the success of the litter strategies so we can continue to improve outcomes for the community.