No bins, no rubbish, better beaches

By Hannah Norton

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Removing rubbish bins at Ruakaka beach is proving successful in keeping litter at bay, leaving council surprised.

Ruakaka Parish Residents and Ratepayers Association (RPRRA) member Peter Hope said he saw the concept while holidaying at Wenderholm campground in Auckland.

The campground had huge banners telling people to take their rubbish home and on the day Mr Hope arrived it was hosting a school sports day.

"When they all left, there was not an apple core or a scrap of paper in sight," he said.

So he raised the idea at a RPRRA meeting and then members approached the Whangarei District Council (WDC).

"I can't believe that Ruakaka can't do anything Auckland can do other than ten times better," Mr Hope said.

WDC technical officer Grant Alsop said the group requested council take away the 19 bins in the car park and put up signs telling people to take their rubbish away with them.

"We were a bit surprised at first, but they explained that if people get to a beach and see a bin, they have no incentive to think about the environment and take responsibility for their own rubbish," he said.

The signs will be trialled initially for four months. Mr Hope said that after four weeks the tactic is proving effective.

The RPRRA came up with the wording for the sign, and council produced and installed them.

Mr Alsop said this approach had worked well at Pataua South for several years. Council had looked at removing bins at other coastal reserves and had expected a negative response, so it was good to get the request from Ruakaka, he said.

"It is good for our district as a whole. It shows that the community will take the lead when it comes to looking after an environment and that it expects locals and visitors to be responsible too."

"We are very happy to take part in this experiment to see how it turns out. We are all hoping for a good result."

"So far, it's been successful. The bins used to be overflowing with rubbish, and the birds came in and scattered it."

"Already Ruakaka appears to have taken ownership of this beach."

If the trial is successful, the RPRRA would like to see council erect signs at the North and South entrances of Ruakaka to proclaim it as a litter-free area.

"No bins, no rubbish, better beaches," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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