NSW False accusation of car for littering

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10 November 2019
Hi, so i was in the car and my partner was driving and we were smoking and i never throw my cigarrete butt out of the car, instead i empty its ash and keep the butt in an empty watter bottle inside my car. So as i did this, a driver in a car next to me said u cannot throw the ashes out and this is littering and she will take my plate and report it for littering. I showed her the cigarrete butt that i kept in the car and told her i did not litter and what she saw is just the ash, and she got an angry tone and said “well i will take ur number plate anyway i dont care”. So i was wondering: 1) is throwing ash considered littering? 2) and if its not littering, what should i do if she makes a false report? Tnx


Well-Known Member
25 July 2018
is throwing ash considered littering?
Technically, yes - but in reality, it's mostly ignored.

Section 144A of the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 defines litter as:

(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

(b) any other material, substance or thing deposited in or on 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.

Since ash is a solid material, it is covered by the above definition. The offence of littering then follows at section 145(1):

145 Littering generally

(1) Offence of littering A person who deposits litter in or on a public place or an open private place is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

One penalty unit equals $110, so that's a max penalty of $2,200.

I wouldn't be concerned about it though, because there's no evidence - the ash is blown away almost immediately. You'll only get done for something like this if a bored cop actually sees you do it, or if there's photographic or video evidence. Someone whinging about it won't be enough on it's own.
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