Skip to main content

A NSW Government website

Don't be a Tosser!

Litter is a big concern for the people of NSW.

Over 25,000 tonnes of litter is tossed each year in NSW.78 Litter damages our natural environment and ecosystems, injure wildlife, and makes our public spaces unsafe. Most of the rubbish on our beaches comes from suburban streets.52 Plastic is projected to outweigh fish in the ocean by 205049, and just one ingested piece of plastic has a 1 in 5 chance of killing a turtle.47

We’re increasingly concerned about plastics and the impacts of litter on the marine environment and our health. 94% of us want action taken to address it.79 We want a clean and safe environment, now and in the future.

The NSW Government is committed to reducing litter and has announced an additional investment of $38 million over five years as part of the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy to continue the momentum to reduce litter in NSW. The strategy includes two ambitious new targets: 

  • Reduce all litter by 60% by 2030
  • Reduce plastic litter by 30% by 2025.

The Don't be a Tosser! campaign plays an important part in achieving these goals.

 

Diver surrounded by rubbish
© Caroline Power Photography.

 

Education and awareness is improving litter behaviour.

The Tosser! anti-littering campaigns have been running since 2014 as part of the Litter Prevention Strategy. No doubt, you've seen or heard it on TV, radio, outdoor billboards or online. The Tosser! campaigns are well-liked and there’s a clear association between ‘Tosser’ and littering.

Over $17 million has been invested in the proven message, which has helped reduce litter in NSW (from 2013-14 to 2020) by a massive 43% compared to 19% nationally. Tosser! creative materials are also used by other government departments, local councils, business partners, and community groups across the state showing the strength of the message and the campaign’s effectiveness.

The latest evolution of the campaign is Don't be a Tosser! Its success is achieved through a strategic and integrated approach that builds on extensive research and evaluation to drive positive behaviour change. 95% of the community approves of the "Don't be a Tosser! If it's not in the bin, it's on you" message.

Don't be a Tosser! is the overarching brand, focusing on the core action to 'put your rubbish in the bin'. It’s supported by two secondary messages: Report a Tosser! and Marine (why litter matters).

Each message plays a role while further adding to and strengthening the action to ‘put your rubbish in the bin’. Don't be a Tosser! delivers a clear, cohesive, and effective campaign to reduce littering.

  • 91% of the community want the NSW Government to address the issue of littering
  • 95% of the community approves the Tosser campaign message
  • 90% of the community agree that littering has a big impact on waterways and the marine environment 
  • 83% of the community support the NSW Government issuing fines for littering
  • After being exposed to the campaign community members demonstrated positive changes in awareness, attitudes and behaviours around littering - demonstrating the campaign works!

 

Sub brand and master brand of Don't be a Tosser!

 

Evolving the conversation with the community.

Don't be a Tosser! was developed based on research that showed the campaign needed to continue to evolve the conversation with the community. It builds on the earlier Hey Tosser! approach, shifting the conversation to an internal dialogue.

No longer is the focus on the witness of the littering behaviour to drive behaviour change, as was the case with the previous campaign. Instead, Don't be a Tosser! promotes greater self-realisation. It places the responsibility for littering on the individual and encourages us to think about our own actions.

The concept is playful, and eye-catching, and the reintroduction of the Don't be a Tosser! message encourages positive action. It gives us all the choice to NOT be a 'Tosser'.

The creative uses a variety of 'excuses' that have been focus group tested, and reflect what litterers use to justify tossing. These excuses were the most effective as they provided the best balance in making us feel guilty for tossing and forcing us to realise how silly our excuses to justify tossing are. That emotional response reinforces the message in our minds to do the right thing and put our rubbish in the bin.

Don't be a Tosser! talks to all of us in NSW – across different ages, genders, cultures, jobs, and regions – because studies show that anyone can be a tosser and that there's no 'typical' tosser. To get the message out there, the campaign uses the top 5 languages spoken in NSW (English, Arabic, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Cantonese). Materials have also been developed for our Aboriginal communities by our Aboriginal communities.

 

Campaign images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report a Tosser!

To report littering from a vehicle you need to have actually seen the litter being thrown, or blown, from the vehicle; be able to provide the vehicle registration details and the location where the littering took place; report the incident within 14 days.

Report a Tosser

Marine litter campaign

The marine litter campaign features Rocky the lobster and his band Rage Against the Polystyrene with their new smash hit Don't be a Tosser song. Check out the litter-ally awesome video clip!
Rage Against The Polystyrene cover art featuring Rocky the lobster and his marine friends

Top of page Back to top