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'Pack it in - pack it out' for rubbish and recyclables at Waikawau boat ramp

21 June 2019

We’ve removed the rubbish bins from the reserve at the Waikawau boat ramp to keep this area of the Thames Coast cleaner, protect wildlife, and encourage visitors and boaties to take home their recyclables and dispose of rubbish in a proper facility, such as one of our Refuse Transfer Stations.

Waikawau boat ramp rubbish bin

(Photo: Lots of recyclables among the rubbish dumped next to the bin at the Waikawau Boat Ramp. Top tip: Take take your rubbish with you to dispose of properly, especially if it's recyclable.)

The move has the full agreement of the Waikawau Boat Ramp Society, Ngati Tamatera, the Department of Conservation, and our Council.

In recent months the reserve, despite the bins being regularly emptied, has been used to dump fish frames, bait waste, household rubbish and even recyclable items.

The fish and bait waste attracts pest animals such as rats, which then attack native shorebirds and other New Zealand animal, plant and insect species.

People, including children, have cut their feet on kina spines and the sharp edges of shellfish that people have dumped at the reserve.

We’re now asking that if you “pack it in, pack it out”, and don’t leave anything behind but footprints and memories.

Shellfish shells should be left at the beach where tidal action can smooth the edges and gradually break them down. Fish frames and bait waste should either be taken home to be disposed of or left at one of our Council’s seven Refuse Transfer Stations. Their hours and locations are on our website at

Removing the bins is not a cost-savings measure – it’s a bid to keep our Firth of Thames coastline cleaner, which could be repeated at other popular reserves where dumping rubbish is an issue.

Our Council’s staff, contractors, Ngati Tamatera and the Waikawau Boat Ramp Society will monitor the rubbish situation at the reserve over the coming months to see if removing the bins makes an improvement.

We will be installing signs at the reserve to remind people that if they create rubbish on their visit, they should take it away with them to dispose of responsibly.

Taking rubbish bins out of reserves has been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions both in New Zealand and overseas.

Here are a few tips to help you keep our beaches and reserves clean for other visitors to enjoy:

‘Pack it in, pack it out’

Litter is unattractive, harmful to wildlife and pollutes water. Plan your visit to reduce rubbish, and carry out what you carry in.

Rubbish left on beaches or dropped in the sea, lakes or rivers, pollutes water and can kill animals if they swallow it or get entangled in it.  Discarded fish frames and bait waste attracts pest species such as rats that prey on native bird, plant and insect species.

  • Cut down on rubbish by repacking food into recyclable containers before you leave home.
  • Use rubbish disposal facilities where they are provided or carry out what you carry in.
  • Old worn fishing line is likely to break. Check it before leaving home; dispose of waste line safely; and, if it is safe to do so, retrieve lost or broken gear.
  • Clean fish and shellfish where the waste will not pollute the water.
  • If you find other people's rubbish, think of the environment and remove it.
  • Report any pollution to the local council as soon as possible.

Make the Tiaki Promise

(Click on the poster below to open a larger version.)

Tiaki Promise poster

Tiaki means to care for people and place. Find out more on the Tiaki New Zealand website.