Thousands of dollars are spent every year cleaning household rubbish and waste, furniture, appliances and tyres dumped illegally around the city.

The Tauranga City Council receives about 40 complaints a month about people dumping rubbish on street berms, parks and reserves and roads, with household rubbish bags, furniture and tyres the top three items complained about.

Tauranga City Council acting resource recovery and waste manager Cathy Davidson said the council spent about $2000 each month on the collecting and disposing of illegally-dumped rubbish.

She said each month about 22 per cent of dumped rubbish was household rubbish, about 20 per cent was furniture and 16 per cent was tyres. The remaining 42 per cent was other items, including mattresses, green waste and appliances.


Davidson said council contractors were immediately contacted and most rubbish cleared within 48 hours of the report.

The council also received about three complaints of overflowing rubbish bins each month in mostly high foot-traffic locations, including the footpath around Mount Main Beach, parks with barbecues and playgrounds.

Davidson said an extra 50 rubbish drums were put out in busy areas including the Mount, Papamoa and Tauranga between December 1 and March 31 to cope with the seasonal influx of people.

The council was also trialling an additional 10 "smart" rubbish and recycling stations, which send data to the waste contractors when full to prevent overflowing at Mount Main Beach, Pilot Bay, Coronation Park and Mount Drury next month.

The emptying of public rubbish bins and collection days varied depending on demand. Bins were emptied twice daily in busy areas during summer.

The council's parks and recreation team arranged clearing litter from beach dunes and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council arranged beach and foreshore clean-ups.

"Everyone has a part to play in keeping our streets and beaches clean by not dumping rubbish or littering."

Waste Watchers director Marty Hoffart, who climbs Mauao three times a week, said occasionally rubbish bins were filled with food and drink rubbish from weekend beachgoers.


"I don't think it is the people being naughty, it is when the bins are overflowing and the birds are taking advantage of that."

Hoffart said a solution was to have closeable lids for rubbish bins and to encourage people not to add to the overflow.

He said close to one billion beverage containers were sent to the landfill every year, which made up "two Boeing 747s filled every day".

When Stuart Marshall saw a rubbish bin overflowing at the Tay St barbecue area on November 26 he shared his disgust on Facebook.

"The bin was obviously full with the barbecuers' rubbish and then what would not fit in the bin was left next to it, along with filthy barbecues," he said.

He had lived in the Mount for 10 years and said it annoyed him people took advantage of free facilities.

"The council cannot, and should not, have to check and empty rubbish bins every hour," he said.

Marshall said after spotting the rubbish he went home to get a rubbish bag and clear the rubbish, but the council had already cleaned the bin when he returned.

To report overflowing rubbish bins and dumped rubbish, phone Tauranga City Council on 07 577 7000.

Morgan Schofield and May Su encouraging people to pick up their rubbish. Photo/George Novak
Morgan Schofield and May Su encouraging people to pick up their rubbish. Photo/George Novak

Free coffee for picking up rubbish

A Mount Maunganui cafe manager is offering customers free coffee for picking up rubbish.

May Su from Have You Bean? cafe opposite Coronation Park said she got the idea to offer free coffee in exchange for a full bucket of litter from the Keep Mauao Clean Facebook page.

Su had noticed more rubbish in the area and wanted to encourage people to help clean up.

"I was just trying to do my little part and hopefully it will encourage others to do the same," she said.

Su said it was not just up to the council to clean up rubbish.

"It is not just their job, it is everyone's job. We all live here," she said.

Su said she had seen alcohol bottles, fizzy drink cans, cigarette butts and takeaway wrappers thrown on to the streets near her cafe.

"I feel disgusted and angry and sad at the same time. Why can't people just pick up their own rubbish? It is never very far from the rubbish bins," Su said.

Keep Mauao Clean Facebook page organiser Morgan Schofield said the page was set up to raise awareness of the "litter problem".

Schofield said her degree in environmental science had allowed her to witness the impact humans had on the environment.

"Eighty per cent of marine litter comes from land-based sources," she said.

She said the more plastic people used meant more plastic in landfill and oceans.

"Any infographic on Google will show the top 10 most abundant pieces of litter found and most of them are single-use plastic with the top offender being cigarette butts," Schofield said.

Schofield wanted to change people's attitudes towards the city's rubbish and create "a sense of community responsibility around the care of our environment".

She said Have You Bean? was the only business offering free coffee and she was now organising the first Keep Mauao Clean beach clean-up on Sunday.

What: Keep Mauao Clean Beach Clean-up
When: Sunday, December 3, from 1pm-3pm
Where: Beach side of Mount Drury
What to bring: Appropriate footwear and clothing, water and sunscreen. Buckets and gloves will be provided.

Street view: Whose responsibility is it to keep the city clean?

"The public should help by just picking it up and being tidy."
Neve Elliot, Hamilton

"I haven't noticed overflowing rubbish bins but then I haven't really been into town. If they are council rubbish bins I think it is their responsibility."
Esme O'Rafferty, Greerton

"I think it is everyone's responsibility, the council's as well as everybody else."
Jack Murray, visitor from United States

"If I saw a bin that was overflowing I would go and find another one. The people who leave their rubbish are just so rude."
Pianika Ormsby, Tauranga

"I do pick up rubbish, especially around the beach. I wouldn't want rubbish going into the water."
Tayla Greer, Tauranga

"If I see something on the ground, I pick it up."
Brooklyn Doney, Tauranga