Litter

Litter Bins

Cornwall Council provide hundreds of litter bins acoss Cornwall so there is no excuse for your rubbish to become litter.

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The litter bins are emptied regularly and should never be overflowing. 

Report a litter 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 materials often associated with smoking, eating and drinking, that are improperly discarded, left by members of the public, or spilt during business operations as well as waste management operations.

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 and 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, particularly at the seaside where 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 £80 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 and if there are insufficient bins. The research found that they would think twice about littering if they were in their own neighbourhood, if the area was tidy or presentable or if 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 and 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 and 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 using the online contact form and 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.