Revealed: The number of rubbish bins removed from across Auckland

A loop around the park with your dog could mean you'll now be taking home their poop. 

Auckland Council announced this year it was going to be taking away some public rubbish bins in a bid to save money. The Council has now confirmed to Newshub 2090 bins have been removed. 

When Auckland Council detailed the plans, it was described as a "significant savings for ratepayers." 

"The Auckland region has thousands of rubbish bins - around 10,000 in fact at the last count in November 2023. But it's become clear that a large number of these bins are underused and contain little or no rubbish when our contractors empty them," said Auckland Council's General Manager for Parks and Community Facilities, Taryn Crewe at the time. 

"We are looking to save money across the whole council as part of the Annual Budget savings target. Rubbish bin optimisation is one way the council can cut costs and save money. On completion of the optimisation, we will still have around 7,000 bins across the city," Crewe added at the time. 

Overflowing bin in Birkenhead
Overflowing bin in Birkenhead. Photo credit: Supplied

Auckland Council believes having fewer public rubbish bins could save more than $1.3 million a year. 

But the project has drawn criticism from dog walkers to local board representatives. 

John Gillon is Chair of the Kaipātiki Local Board which represents a number of North Shore suburbs, including Beach Haven, Birkenhead, Birkdale and Glenfield. 

He disagrees with the removal of rubbish bins. 

"Local boards always receive complaints about over-flowing bins. It's always been a constant complaint," Gillon told Newshub. 

Overflowing bin in Northcote Point
Overflowing bin in Northcote Point Photo credit: Supplied

"I have noticed more overflowing bins. Outside a Four Square in Beach Haven we had two bins. That's now reduced to one and it's constantly full. That's just one example," said Gillon. 

Gillon believes Auckland Council is "penny-pinching" from an essential service. 

"I'm sure there's other places they could get the money from. This should be an area that's fully funded. Public bins should be one of the first things funded through rates. A clean, tidy and hygienic city and public space should be a top priority for the council," he says. 

Auckland Council says it's removed bins from various locations around the city including Newmarket, Te Atatu Peninsula and Northcote. 

"However, no rubbish bins have been removed from the Manurewa, Franklin, Papakura or Rodney local board areas as each of these four local boards chose to fund the retention of all public rubbish bins," says Auckland Council Head of Area Operations and Community Facilities, Julie Pickering. 

Rubbish bin removed from Birkenhead
Rubbish bin removed from Birkenhead Photo credit: Supplied

Keep New Zealand Beautiful says Aotearoa has a problem with litter. 

"Although the removal of litter bins on a strategic case-by-case basis may be cost-effective for councils and might indeed not impact some parks and public spaces, a wholesale removal of bins is likely to make it harder for the general public to responsibly dispose of their litter," Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson told Newshub. 

"Dog walkers don't like to walk around with dog poo, which is completely understandable," Gillon adds. 

In 2016 over 190,000 tonnes of rubbish was collected by Keep New Zealand Beautiful volunteers. 

Saunderson says that "National Litter Audits" completed since then seem to highlight the problem is growing worse. 

Auckland Council is adamant "well-used" rubbish bins such as those in town centres and popular coastal areas won't be taken away unless there are many bins in the same space. 

Auckland Council's website states that "walking those extra steps to the next rubbish bin, or taking your rubbish home with you, is a small step the vast majority of Aucklanders won't mind taking for the millions of dollars in savings to ratepayers." 

Newshub asked Auckland Council how the money saved by removing the rubbish bins would be used. 

"Auckland Council's governing body will decide where the savings through the bin optimisation project will be allocated. Auckland Council faces many challenges in the coming years including upgrading aging infrastructure and building resilience to extreme weather events as well as managing rates increases against an economic climate of high inflation," said Pickering. 

Auckland Council has also proposed to move from weekly to fortnightly rubbish collections from July 2026. 

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