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Be a tidy Kiwi neighbour this summer

Top tips for helping avoid illegal dumping

Published: 19 November 2020

The nicer weather might be inspiring you and your neighbours to do a cleanout. Summer is a popular time to move, so more people might be sorting their stuff now to prepare. But, whatever the motivation, it’s never appropriate to leave unwanted items on the kerb or berm. This is illegal dumping.

There are better ways to find a new home for unwanted items instead of leaving them outside hoping someone will wander by and take them.

Here are 10 simple options for re-homing your stuff:

  1. Post a picture on your neighbourhood Facebook group, and place the items somewhere accessible on your property, or ask people to message you directly to arrange for pick up
  2. List the items for free on TradeMe or sell them
  3. Clothing and linens can be put into a clothing bin. Look for one by your supermarket or shopping centre
  4. Visit or ring your local Op Shop, church, or community group to ask them if they’re accepting items. Remember that whatever you donate needs to be in a condition suitable for re-sale. For certain things, they might even arrange to pick them up from you. Whatever you do, please avoid leaving unwanted items outside a shop. They cannot sell them, and it puts the burden on a charity to dispose of it for you
  5. Check with your local animal shelter if they need newspaper, towels or blankets for their animals. They also accept used pet items and toys
  6. Take the items to a Transfer Station or a Community Recycling Centre. Many items are accepted for free at these facilities
  7. Order a bin service to take everything at once or ask your neighbours if they’d like to get a skip bin. You can get a flexible bin mailed to you (1 to 3 meters in size) folded up, or you can buy one at a local shop. Simply call or go online to arrange for pick up when you’re done filling it. Just remember to keep it on your property at all times
  8. Arrange for an appliance or electronic waste recycler to come to pick up your items or drop them off for free to be recycled
  9. Hold the items for your free on-property inorganic collection. You can sign up online or call 09 301 0101 to find out when we’ll be in your neighbourhood
  10. Still stumped? You can search by unwanted item and we will give you some ideas.

Council responds to dumping

If you find that you’re consistently having more waste than fits in your bin, you may be able to order a larger or additional rubbish or recycling bin. Leaving excess waste next to a kerbside bin is treated as illegal dumping and will not be picked up by your collector. Instead, you may be fined for leaving it there.

Councillor Stewart Chair of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee says that “The holiday season is coming and this is the time of year that people tend to illegally dump. Therefore, we all have a part in looking out for our community and ensuring that we report anyone who is seen illegally dumping.”

“The community can discretely take a photo of vehicles and persons and report using Auckland Council’s 0800 NO DUMP line.”

Councillor Stewart encourages, “If we all work together to try and find solutions, we can minimise this problem.

"It’s great to see people helping each other out, whether that’s hiring a skip, or doing a neighbourhood yard sale, or asking around if someone needs the unwanted items. Neighbours working together have found creative solutions.”

Councillor Linda Cooper, Chair of the Regulatory Committee, says, “People caught leaving items anywhere outside of their property face instant fines of $400 and may be prosecuted up to $30,000. It pays to be responsible with your waste.”

“If a contractor is offering to get rid of items for rock bottom prices, please ask them about their disposal methods. Unfortunately, there are some people who will take your money to remove items, only to dump them somewhere else in your neighbourhood. This also happens with garden waste services. We’ve prosecuted several people for doing this and will continue seeking resolution this way,” says Councillor Cooper.  

If you’ve got a big yard to keep up with, consider ordering a green waste bin from a private company or getting started with home composting.

How to report illegal dumping

People who see illegal dumping should contact Auckland Council immediately with as much information as possible, including times and dates, and descriptions of the offenders. If known, a vehicle registration is very helpful. Home security footage has been useful in prosecutions of illegal dumpers because it can capture the vehicle and who was driving it.

People can report dumped material to the council by phone to 0800 NO DUMP (0800 66 3867), which operates 24 hours 7 days a week, or by email to inthebin@aklc.govt.nz. We will investigate the matter and may issue instant fines or prosecute the person or business responsible.

Reduce your waste

There are some ways to make your household waste more manageable.

Stretch the time between trips to the grocery store and save yourself money using these practical food-saving tips from Auckland Council and Love Food Hate Waste.

Use the “recycle right” game with your household to get everyone placing their grocery items from the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry into the recycling bin instead of letting them go to landfill.

Drop off your soft plastics like bread bags, chip packs, biscuit bags, frozen foods bags, courier packs, bubble wrap, and similar items. These can be recycled into specialty products within New Zealand. Find a drop-off spot near you.

Read more: Waste Environment

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