Illegal CBD rubbish dumping: Council sifts for clues

1 December 2015

Illegal dumping of rubbish by some inner-city residents and businesses is worsening – making it difficult and expensive to keep parts of the city looking good.

Wellington City Council manages the city’s waste, including the collection and management of household rubbish and recycling. The system for managing rubbish and recycling relies on each household and business playing their part in the process – and a reminder letter and information booklet is being sent out to all central city apartment owners this week to help address the issue.

In the past two years, Council staff have had to deal with an upsurge in the dumping of rubbish on CBD streets by people who use unmarked rubbish bags. Council staff believe the people doing the dumping are either not aware that what they are doing is wrong – or they are actively using unmarked bags to avoid the $2.50 cost of an official yellow rubbish bag.

The Council’s Environment Committee Chair, Councillor Iona Pannett, says the problem is costing the Council – and ratepayers – thousands of dollars a week as contractors and staff work extra hours to keep the city clean.

“On top of this, the Council faces spending $100,000 a year in landfill costs to get rid of the additional rubbish, and loses almost $80,000 in revenue from people not paying for yellow bags.

“The Council has to get rid of the rubbish to keep the streets tidy, but catching the dumpers has proved a challenge. It’s frustrating because we have no choice – we have to get it off the street," adds Cr Pannett.

City Council staff are working to identify who is responsible – this is done by looking for evidence of the address within the unofficial bags. If it is the first time the household or business has done this then a warning letter is sent. If the household or business are repeatedly doing this, they will be sent an infringement letter which includes a fine.

The Council is asking central city residents and property owners to help keep the city clean by making sure they or their tenants have the correct information on rubbish and recycling.

In the central city, residents’ rubbish must be left on the footpath next to the kerb between 5.30pm and 10pm in official yellow rubbish bags that can be purchased from supermarkets, dairies and the Council Service Centre at 101 Wakefield Street. Their recycling must be cleaned and sorted into clear plastic bags and put out on Tuesday evenings between 5.30pm and 10pm.

To help address the issue, the Council will be contacting central city apartment owners to remind them how to dispose of their waste thoughtfully.