Rubbish is an ongoing issue in many of our parks, particularly around major roadways and waterways. Organising a clean-up is a great way to give back to your community.

Rubbish collectors beside the Avon-Otakaro River. Any rubbish blown or washed into drains and waterways eventually finds itself in our rivers and the sea. You can make a difference by picking up rubbish.

Popular tourist beaches such as New Brighton and Sumner Beach are regularly cared for by council. You can do more good if you focus on other areas where rubbish regularly collects and take an active role in cleaning up your local park.


Have you heard of plogging?

It’s a Swedish word that merges jogging and the Swedish phrase 'plocka upp', which means picking up. It’s the new catch phrase for the everyday social action of picking up rubbish while out running or walking.

The idea is small actions by many people can make a real difference.

All of our parks are suitable for ploggers; just make it a habit to take a small bag with you when you visit a park and take it away.

Plan your clean-up event

Register your event

For organised groups, ask the landowner’s permission to clean up the site where appropriate (e.g. Christchurch City Council). Legally, the owner is responsible for the health and safety of people on their property.

Fill in the volunteer enquiry form to notify us of your event and what support you need. We prefer a minimum of four weeks’ notice to allow us to plan our work.

Visit the site before the day

Get to know the best access points and possible hazards so you can tell other volunteers.

Assign a leader and health and safety officer

Use this quick reference guide [PDF, 2.4 MB]to help you with briefing volunteers on keeping safe.

This is especially important if you are working close to a waterway.

Organise tools

Keep NZ Beautiful have free kits of bags and gloves(external link)

Organise rubbish collection

For any dangerous or large items, such as dumped tyres, needles etc, you can use the Snap Send Solve mobile app to report them.

If you expect to collect a large amount of rubbish, Council may be able to help with rubbish bags and/or collection afterwards.


Hot spots for rubbish

Rubbish collector, estuary edge.

The rivers that run through the city carry rubbish washed off roads and drains downstream, where it gets caught up in vegetation or pushed back onto the beach by the tide.

Waterways can be hazardous and some sites will not be suitable for children or school groups. 

  • South New Brighton Domain  
  • Charlesworth Reserve 
  • Humphrey’s Drive Reserve 
  • Coastal Pathway estuary edge  
  • Lower reaches of Avon-Ōtakaro River from Wainoni Bridge downstream (not suitable for children) 
  • Lower reaches of Ōpawaho Heathcote River (not suitable for children) 
  • Brooklands Lagoon – mouth of the Waimakariri River and nearby beaches 
  • Waimakariri River lower reaches – (not suitable for children) 
  • Lyttleton bays and beaches (Magazine Bay, Corsair Bay, Purau, Teddington) 
  • Barry’s Bay and Devauchelles (Banks Peninsula)

 When working alongside a waterway (river, wetland, estuary)

  • Take care around slippery or steep banks, and watch tidal conditions. 
  • Do not walk in streams or waterways for your clean up. There are safety issues with going in the water; please talk to us first. 
  • Do not walk in shallow streams during trout spawning times (May to September). 
  • Do not clear away natural debris (e.g. branches, leaves, mud) from rivers or streams without approval from Council. These are often habitat for local birds and wildlife. 


Schools can apply for recycling bins to support their sustainability and waste warrior practices.

This programme is intended to encourage students to participate in recycling and to support the New Zealand Curriculum principles and values of sustainability, community engagement and participation.

Support your action with one of our waste education(external link) programmes.

Keep NZ Beautiful has some great education resources(external link).

For more information