5 Mar 2024

Bins binned in Auckland Council drive to cut costs

3:40 pm on 5 March 2024
Auckland Council says it won't be removing bins from the CBD.

Auckland Council says it won't be removing bins from the CBD. Photo: Auckland Council / Supplied

Aucklanders out and about looking for somewhere to dispose of their garbage are finding there are fewer bins than there used to be.

Since November, the council has been binning bins it says contractors often find empty, in an effort to cut costs. The number across the Auckland region will drop from 10,000 to 7000 by the end of March, saving ratepayers $1.4 million a year.

"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," Auckland Council general manager for parks and community facilities Taryn Crewe said in February.

Bins in the CBD and "popular coastal areas" have been left alone, but Aucklanders "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".

Auckland Council has been looking for ways to cut costs in order to keep rates rises in check since Wayne Brown was elected mayor.

But some locals think the idea is a load of rubbish. The New Zealand Herald on Tuesday reported dog owners were being "left clutching putrid sacks of faeces" wondering if they should just throw them in the ocean, while a school principal said his students were just throwing their pie wrappers on the ground.

Aucklanders had complained "en masse" on social media about the lack of bins, the Herald reported.

Local boards reportedly were taken by surprise, some opting to fund temporary wheelie bins to discourage littering.

Crewe said if there was not a bin nearby, Aucklanders should take their rubbish home with them.

"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."

She said Auckland's regional parks were already bin-free, and people "by and large" respected this and took their rubbish with them when they left.

"There are also no public rubbish bins on Aotea / Great Barrier Island. Locals have embraced this and there are no major litter problems there."

The discarded bins will be recycled as scrap metal or used as replacements when those left in place sustain damage.

The council recently reduced the range of items that can be recycled in its fortnightly collections, and has proposed halving the frequency of its rubbish collection service.