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Litter

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.

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.

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You can report a bin which needs emptying using the form below.  The form can be completed for the following types of public bin:

  • barbeque bins
  • dog waste bins
  • litter bins
  • recycling banks
  • street recycling bins

Report a public waste bin requires emptying

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. 

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.

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 litter 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 it, 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.  Please see our Littering Offence for more information.

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. 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

Installing and servicing a new bin is very costly.  We are not currently installing any additional bins on the land we own or manage.  Often a new 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 one of our existing litter or dog bins becomes broken or damaged then please let us know by completing the form below.

Report a broken or damaged dog / litter bin

Action will be taken to replace the bin as soon as possible.  If a bin is continually vandalised a decision would need to be made as to whether a replacement bin would be put at that specific location again.