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Urban residential

Urban residential

Food waste thrown on the ground Overflowing bins Dumping paint/chemicals down sinks and into stormwater drains Improperly secured items (particularly during storm, heavy weather events) Dumping of asbestos and other items from home building and renovation Incorrect disposal of cigarette butts Inappropriate disposal down sewerage, for example oil and cooking fat and flushing non-disposables down the toilet and leakage of microplastics into the sewerage system from washing polyester and other acrylic clothes

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Urban residential sector waste may include:

  • people discarding food, which can spread disease
  • litter escaping from rubbish bins
  • pouring
  • paint/chemicals down sinks and into stormwater drains
  • unsecured items blowing or washing away in storms
  • dumping building and home renovation waste, including asbestos
  • people discarding cigarette butts —still a significant source of residential litter
  • inappropriately disposing items in sinks and toilets, including cooking fat, hygiene products and pharmaceuticals.

Building and home renovations can lead to residents or contractors dumping building material, including asbestos. Information relating to the management and removal of asbestos can be found at

Other items that create litter are cigarette butts littered on the ground and on the street, as well as the flushing of non-disposable items into the sewage system. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are of particular concern, due to the thousands of tonnes entering the waterways from personal use[1].

One issue of concern in urban residential areas is the dumping of household waste onto kerbsides outside the timeframe for designated council kerbside collection. Although this is often done as a means of re-using household items by giving them to others instead of throwing them away, it is considered illegal dumping and may result in the person depositing the waste being fined.

Urban residential waste may move through the environment via four pathways:


  1. ^ Kroon, FJ, Berry, KLE, Brinkman, DL, Kookana, R, Leusch, FDL, Melvin, SD, Neale, PA, Negri, AP, Puotinen, M, Tsang, JJ, Merwe, JP & Williams, M (2019), 'Sources, presence and potential effects of contaminants of emerging concern in the marine environments of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, Australia', Science of The Total Environment. [online], p. 135140. Available at:

Last updated: 10 May 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2021) Urban residential, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation