Nelson’s parks and reserves move toward waste-free future

Council staff and contractors have noticed an increase in the amount of household rubbish being left in, or next to, the bins in our parks. A recent bin audit found that 53% of rubbish found in bins in parks and reserves was from households.

Disposing of household rubbish in this way is illegal dumping – it's harmful to the environment and it can be unpleasant for people using our parks and reserves. It also comes at a cost - our contractors have to undertake unscheduled collections when the bins overflow, which is an extra cost that burdens all ratepayers.

Read the media release here: Bins to be rationalised as Nelson’s parks and reserves move toward waste-free future

Illegal dumping and littering are governed by the Litter Act 1979 and councils can either issue an infringement or file charges. This decision would be made in accordance with the type and severity of the littering/dumping.

What you can do:

  • Encourage your friends and family to do the right thing. Don’t put household rubbish in public bins. Not only does illegal dumping cost the community a lot of money, it also has a major impact on the environment.
  • Reduce and reuse before you recycle and dispose! There are many ways you can recycle items you no longer need and save on landfill fees. See our brochure here for advice and ideas
  • Take your rubbish and recycling home with you. This will help stop public bins from overflowing in popular areas. And if bins are already overflowing, don't add to the pile, take the rubbish home and dispose of it in your wheelie bins. Contact Council and let us know if a bin is full or overflowing.
  • Report any dumped rubbish to Nelmac at 0800 635 622 | 03 546 0910 as soon as possible so contractors can remove it, or use the Antenno app
  • When reporting rubbish, it is very helpful if you supply photos that have a location tag, or state the reserve or park you are in. This can be done by turning on your location services on your smart device before taking the photo. This enables contractors to go straight to the dumping site rather than spending time searching for the rubbish.

  • If you witness illegal dumping, do not approach the offenders but do report it to Council, taking notes or photos or videos (if safe to do so) of the person and their vehicle registration can help with identification and prosecution.


You can see a full list of the parks and reserves where the bins will be removed or moved to the right of this page.

The removals will be staged from now until the end of August. Below is a list of the parks/reserves where the bins will be removed/rationalised.


Akersten Foreshore

Albion Square Reserve

Aldinga Reserve

Annesbrook Youth Park

Basin Reserve Gardens

Bolt Reserve

Cattle Market Reserve

Centennial Park

Foster Reserve

Fountain Reserve

Glenduan Reserve

Kowhai Reserve

Manson Reserve

Moncrieff Reserve

Tokomaru Reserve

Vosper Reserve

Waimea North Reserve

Wards Reserve

Wellington Reserve

Wigzell Park

Stoke Fire Station Gardens


Kerr-Wellington Walkway


Branford Park
Elma Turner Library carpark
Main Road Stoke Gardens
Miyazu Japanese Gardens
Ngaio Reserve
Old Bank Lane Gardens
Paddys Knob Reserve
Pioneer Park
Railway Reserve Walkway North
Riverside Pool Reserve
Russell Reserve
Te-Ata Reserve
Wakefield Quay Gardens

No, but Council is investigating the removal of these dispensers. The combined cost of providing bags for dog owners and then disposing of used doggy doo bags is increasing. We are also concerned about the use of single-use plastic bags in our environment. Alternatives might include the use of a more environmentally friendly option, such as reusable scoops and reusable waste bags, while also encouraging dog owners to be responsible for their dog’s waste and dispose of this at home.

In general terms, littering is throwing a piece of paper on the ground or throwing fast food wrappers out the window of a car. Illegal dumping references larger amounts of rubbish being dumped in any location it shouldn’t be, including bags of rubbish placed next to or in public rubbish bins.

Both activities are governed by the Litter Act 1979, and councils have the power to either give an infringement notice to an offender or file charges against them. This decision is made in accordance with the type and severity of the littering.

Council has the ability to impose infringement fines ranging from $100 for a single item of litter to $200 for more than a single item or $400 for larger quantity of rubbish and/or broken glass, food scraps or other offensive material.

Council can also prosecute in more serious cases, with a maximum $5000 fine upon conviction

The Urban Environments Bylaw 225 states the following:

Public rubbish bins -

No person shall deposit or cause or permit to be deposited in any rubbish bin located within any public place:

• any explosive, hot ashes, or other burning material;

• any highly flammable material or acid or other corrosive material;

• any Household Refuse;

• any Trade Refuse.

Where we have sufficient evidence, we will be issuing fines to those found dumping rubbish. Prosecution requires a high threshold of evidence – mail with names and addresses is not enough. It is considered only circumstantial evidence. To be able to prosecute someone, Council must have evidence that will be considered credible in court such as images or CCTV footage that clearly identifies the person or people carrying out the dumping or a witness who is willing to be heard in court.

As we go through the bin removal process, we will be closely monitoring hotspot areas for household rubbish dumping, and we may look to install CCTV if problems persist. Some parks are already monitored for antisocial behaviour and vandalism. We are required, under the privacy statutes, to disclose that a site is monitored, and evidence gathered might be used for prosecution, so we cannot stealthily monitor the activities of people.

Installing cameras is not a quick fix. While they may act as a deterrent for some, other people aware of a camera at one site will simply go somewhere else to dump their rubbish. Cameras also require power which is not always easily accessible.

Making the landfill fee-free would mean the burden of the full cost of disposing of everyone's rubbish, including visitors, would unfairly fall on just those who pay rates.

The fees charged at the landfill or transfer station gate must cover the operational cost of collecting and disposing of all the waste produced by the people of Nelson. These costs include organisational overheads such as staff costs, insurance, resource consent fees, environmental monitoring, security and power.

In addition, landfills must pay two types of taxes:

  • A waste minimisation levy
  • An environmental/climate change compensation for the greenhouse gases created by waste through purchasing carbon credits. Landfill operators must purchase carbon credits as part of the Emissions Trading Scheme set up by the Government to mitigate climate change.

The removed bins in good condition will be used to replace bins in other areas that are in a not-so-good condition. The remainder of the bins will be recycled for scrap metal.

Larger parks and high-use areas will be investigated over spring/summer to determine if the size of the bins present is sufficient for the size of the park, and to determine if a waste and recycling station like that installed at Marsden Cemetery will work more efficiently than the existing service.

There are many ways you can recycle items you no longer need and save on landfill fees. However, it’s even better if you can reduce the amount of waste you create in the first place and reuse the resources you already have.