With 15,000km of coastlines and 452,000km of rivers and streams, you’re never far from the water in New Zealand. Whether its at the beach, river or lake, most Kiwis spend their summer holiday in, on or near some of our great coastlines or waterways.

Protecting New Zealand’s water is more important than ever, not only for our enjoyment, but also for the flora and fauna it nurtures and the drinking water it provides.

Each year rubbish in our oceans harms and kills millions of sea creatures who get caught in it or mistake it for food. Plastic is particularly problematic as it does not biodegrade. According to Sustainable Coastlines, 100,000 marine animals and 1,000,000 seabirds killed by rubbish in our seas each year.



In order to love our water, it’s important that we try to keep it free from rubbish and plastic. Here are three things you can do to help:

  1. Reduce how much plastic you use

The less single-use plastic we use, the less opportunities there are for it to end up in our waterways.

Reducing plastic has been a goal for many people for a while, and while things like banning single use plastic bags is a big help, there are still many things that most people can do reduce their plastic consumption even further:

  • Use a reusable water bottle and fill it up as you go – it will save you money as well as plastic.
  • Invest in beeswax wraps or other method reusable ways to wrap up food. Large beeswax wraps are perfect for covering a cut watermelon.
  • Buying sushi for lunch or takeaways for tea? Take your own reusable container.
  • If you like to picnic, purchase a reusable plastic picnic set so you’re aren’t relying on plastic or paper cups and plates.
  • Consider swapping liquid shampoo and condition for shampoo bars in order to cut down on how many plastic bottles you use.


  1. Remove rubbish

It is a no-brainer that if you make any rubbish when you are at a beach or in the bush that you should take it home with you, or at least make sure it is disposed of properly in a rubbish bin.

With beaches so popular this time of year, it is not uncommon to see rubbish bins overflowing with rubbish. Instead of trying to cram your rubbish into the bins, or leaving it next to the bin where it risks being blown away, take it home with you.

Our beaches are littered with a lot of rubbish, most of it which has been washed in by the sea. Do a good deed and pick a patch of sand to clean up before you leave the beach. Better yet, join a Sustainable Coastlines clean up at a beach near you.


  1. Know what can be recycled

If you are heading out of town for a holiday it is important to make sure you know what can be recycled at your destination, as recycling differs across the country. For example, plastic bottles can be recycled with their lids on in Auckland, but not in Wellington and Christchurch.

Check the recycling requirements on the local Council website so you can be confident that what you are putting into the recycling bin can actually be recycled.

There may be other things that you didn’t know could be recycled, such as your unwanted mobile phone. Recycling your unwanted mobile phone with RE:MOBILE will help protect New Zealand’s waterways because money from every phone recycled with RE:MOBILE is donated to Sustainable Coastlines.