Whangārei bans bins at beaches in a NZ-first bid to curb rubbish - and it's working

Removing public rubbish bins to reduce the amount of trash is working, says Whangārei District Council, which has taken bins away from three beaches.

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Because of illegal dumping, public rubbish bins can create more rubbish than they prevent. Source: Seven Sharp

Because of illegal dumping, public rubbish bins can create more rubbish than they prevent, as well as an unsightly mess, Seven Sharp reported.

Residents of Pataua South near Whangārei argued that bins cause more rubbish, so the council removed the bins from the beach.

The locals at Ruakaka Beach followed suit, then residents of Waipu Cove made the same case.

A sign at Ruakaka Beach reads: "Please take your rubbish home. No bins. No rubbish. Better beach".

And now, the council has banished 100 bins to the dustbin of history.

Grant Alsop of Whangārei District Council told Seven Sharp the concept that if you take the bins away the rubbish disappears is working.

He said in the past when communities have told the council they need more bins, the council would put more bins there.

"But that just generated more rubbish. So we put bigger bins there, but that just resulted in bigger rubbish items, like vacuum cleaners," Mr Alsop said.

"And so up to date we've removed 70 per cent of the beaches' bins."

Residents' photos shown on Seven Sharp suggested beachgoers are dumping rubbish anywhere they want.

"We're never going to get rid of the people that are just lazy and don't care about the environment," Mr Alsop said. 

He said a lot of "great people" in the district go around and pick up rubbish in areas like beaches.

"Unfortunately we still get the litter bugs who will dump rubbish. We just try and keep on top of it as best as possible."

Elsewhere, Christchurch has increased public litter and recycling bins. But people are not putting trash in the correct bins in the city and much of it, even the recycling, ends up in the tip.

Meanwhile, Wellington has appeared to hit "peak bin". The city has about 1500 of them but the council is now trialling a removal of bins in parks and gardens.