Litter

Litter / dog waste bins

Cornwall Council provide over 4,700 litter/dog waste bins across Cornwall. These are emptied regularly and should never be overflowing so there is no excuse for rubbish to become litter. 

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The new dual purpose black bins can be used for any type of litter including dog waste.  However, the old style red dog waste bins should only be used for dog waste.

Private landowners who provide their own bins are responsible for emptying them.

Report a litter / dog waste bin that requires emptying

Legally speaking, the word litter is given a wide interpretation. Litter can be as small as a sweet wrapper, as large as a bag of rubbish, or it can mean lots of items scattered about. Litter is most commonly assumed to include packaging associated with smoking, eating and drinking. These are either:

  • improperly discarded
  • left by members of the public
  • spilt during business operations or waste management operations.

You can contact us if you have queries or would like to report litter that needs clearing. Please use our Refuse and Recycling general enquiry webform. (Please remember to include details of the location if you are reporting litter).

Sign the pledge to make a #LitterlessCornwall here

Litter looks horrible, it spoils our environment and quality of life:

  • Research shows that high levels of litter and a poor quality local environment can deter economic activity and investment.
  • Litter and graffiti can help create a poor image of local neighbourhoods. This can lead to an increased fear of crime.
  • Litter can affect people's health by attracting animals and insects that carry diseases.
  • Litter can also be hazardous to wildlife. This is particularly an issue at the seaside. Litter can get tangled in or ingested by fish, mammals and other wildlife.

Dropping rubbish is a criminal offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

You are within your rights to ask someone to pick up litter if you see them dropping rubbish, but please ensure your personal safety is not put at risk. The same applies if you see litter thrown from cars.

We want to encourage local people not to drop litter and instead help keep the environment clean. We want to achieve a litter-free county and enforcing the law is an important part of achieving this aim. Authorised officers can issue fixed penalty notices of £150 for littering offences. Failure to pay may result in a prosecution before a Magistrates Court where the maximum fine is currently £2,500.

Research shows that people are most likely to litter when walking or travelling in a vehicle. It seems that when in a vehicle people feel less accountable and identifiable.  It's also clear that people think it is more acceptable to drop litter if an area is already run-down or dirty. People also think littering is acceptible if there are insufficient bins. The research found that they would think twice about littering if:

  • they were in their own neighbourhood
  • the area was tidy or presentable or
  • they were with children

Cornwall Council does not currently provide new bins for litter or dog waste on the land it owns or manages.   

Erecting and servicing a new bin is very costly. Often a bin will not eliminate the problem of people dropping their litter or dog waste in the area.  If a specific area becomes littered please report it using the online contact form. Officers will monitor the area to ensure cleansing standards are maintained. 

If a Council owned litter or dog bin becomes broken or damaged then this should be reported to the Council. Please use the online contact form. Action will be taken to replace the bin as soon as possible.  However, if a bin is continually vandalised a decision would need to be made as to whether a new bin would be placed at that specific location again.