Aucklanders may have noticed the removal of some public rubbish bins from parks and public places around Tāmaki Makaurau over the past few months. So, what’s this all about?
As Taryn Crewe, Auckland Council’s General Manager for Parks and Community Facilities, explains, Aucklanders won’t be left short of rubbish bins and this small change will ultimately save ratepayers big money.
When Aucklanders are out and about - walking the dog or having a picnic in a park with family and friends – we all agree it’s handy to have a rubbish bin nearby. It saves you carrying waste home and helps to keep Tāmaki Makaurau clean and tidy for yourself and others.
Thousands of bins
The Auckland region has thousands of rubbish bins – around 10,000 in fact at the last count in November 2023. But it’s become clear that a large number of these bins are underused and contain little or no rubbish when our contractors empty them.
That’s why Auckland Council believes it can save money - ratepayers money - by reducing the number of bins around the region, and particularly removing the ones that don’t get used much.
We are looking to save money across the whole council as part of the Annual Budget savings target. Rubbish bin optimisation is one way the council can cut costs and save money.
On completion of the optimisation, we will still have around 7,000 bins across our city.
Big savings with fewer bins
We estimate the bin optimisation project, with 30 per cent fewer bins across the region, will result in significant savings for ratepayers – around $1.4 million per year, in fact. This is a potential savings of $9.5 million over the next eight financial years.
The work is well underway. It started in November 2023 and has an expected completion date of 31 March 2024.
No changes to busy bins
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a rubbish bin nearby when you’re out and about enjoying all that Tāmaki Makaurau has to offer.
We’re taking a careful approach and making sure we only remove the bins that have historically low use, are in neighbourhood parks generally visited by local residents close to home or which are near to other bins.
We’ve stayed away from making any changes to rubbish bins which are well used, like those in town centres and popular coastal areas, unless there is an excess number of bins in that space. So we don’t anticipate seeing a lot more loose litter because we’ve removed some bins.
People out on their daily walk might notice a rubbish bin along their usual route has been removed and may have to walk a little bit further to find the next bin, but one won’t be far away. Some of our parks have no bins at all.
Keeping Auckland beautiful
As Aucklanders, we take pride in our beautiful city and try to live up to the idea of “being a tidy Kiwi”. We want to keep our city clean and tidy for everyone to use and enjoy and I have no doubt that walking those extra steps to the next rubbish bin, or taking your rubbish home with you, is a small step the vast majority of Aucklanders won’t mind taking for the millions of dollars in savings to ratepayers.
The bin optimisation project isn’t without precedent. For more than 20 years Auckland’s regional parks have had zero rubbish bins. Visitors to these parks, by and large, respect these taonga and have no problem taking their rubbish with them when they leave, taking pride in the area and being mindful to leave the whenua clean and tidy for others.
There are also no public rubbish bins on Aotea / Great Barrier Island. Locals have embraced this and there are no major litter problems there.
Managing our carbon footprint
Another positive impact of reducing the number of rubbish bins around Auckland is that it will cut down on carbon emissions with less vehicle trips from contractors to empty the bins.
And the bins themselves? We’ve made sure that the rubbish bins which will be removed won’t be going to landfill. They’ll either be recycled as scrap metal if they’re damaged, or if they’re in good condition, they’ll be kept for use as replacements for bins which may sustain damage in the future.