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Keep New Zealand Beautiful launches new campaign to tackle litter

By Krystle | 04 Apr 2018 13:40

Mama Nature

Two years ago, over 190,000 tonnes of litter was collected from the streets of New Zealand by approximately 86,000 KNZB volunteers. This is enough litter to fill one hundred and twenty rugby fields half a metre high with rubbish.

This prompted Keep New Zealand Beautiful to launch a multi-platform behavioural change campaign, now known as Mama Nature. Using results from our 2018 Littering Behaviour Research, we created a targeted media campaign to reach, and influence, towns and cities who had the largest litter issues across New Zealand, supported with an over-arching national media strategy with strong behavioural change messaging. Coupled with this, we have been undertaking the following:

Developing a transparent National Litter Audit:

In February 2019, KNZB will launch a National Litter Audit (NLA). The NLA will compile data through the physical inspection and visual counting of litter in a number of specific, fixed sites. The information collected will provide empirical data on the quantities, types, locations and brands of litter deposited across the country. We have worked in with StatsNZ, Ministry for Environment and DoC to create an objective litter auditing and evaluation process. This is essential to understanding the extent of the litter issue in New Zealand and in assessing litter prevention and management initiatives. This is a Level 1 Survey, which will be used to inform legislation at a local and national level. Auditing will take place across communities, parks, roadsides, motorways, highways, beaches, coastlines and tourism hotspots nationwide.

The methodology used will be on par with the auditing our sister organisations abroad have undertaken (Keep America Beautiful, Keep Australia Beautiful, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Britain Tidy, etc.), and in line with Environmental Reporting Standards. As part of this we will work with a technical advisory group, providing us with a framework to measure data regionally, nationally, and benchmark comparatively at a global scale. A full report will be made available for public consumption, which will also provide a long term framework for managing litter.

National Litter Database:

We will create a national litter database from the National Litter Audit, to analyse and provide feedback to the Ministry for Environment, other governmental agencies and provide a comprehensive report for public consumption. We will also host a National Litter Hub and provide key resources from the litter auditing reports, to legislation updates, educational resources, and community pride campaigns (such as Clean-Up Week and Beautiful Awards). 

Litter policy and budget review:

The principle piece of litter legislation in New Zealand has been The Litter Act 1979, in which Keep New Zealand Beautiful is named as the body primarily responsible for the promotion of litter control in New Zealand. It is essential that KNZB and relevant stakeholders remain aware of, and respond to, policy initiatives as they emerge, in order to encourage producers, suppliers and consumers to take responsibility for litter prevention and management.

KNZB will review litter plans and policies with local and regional councils and report back to MfE. Working in with councils, we will also research, identify and promote effective illegal dumping prevention initiatives such as enforcement, education and communication to create a national picture. Our aim is to develop a stronger connection with local government which will enable us to enhance local branch capability through this engagement process.


Education, information and training are proactive measures required to prevent the creation of litter and to achieve long-term positive behavioural change. KNZB sees the provision of clear and consistent disposal messages and information as imperative.

Enviroschools will serve as the local delivery agent for litter education in schools that they currently serve (which is approximately 1/3 of New Zealand Schools). To fill in the gaps, KNZB have developed litter resources for the remaining 2/3 of primary school teachers, students and the public, coming in Term 3, 2018. Learn more about the Kiki Kiwi and Friends - Litter Less Programme here.

To find out more about the great work that Keep New Zealand Beautiful are undertaking, or to get more information about volunteering or our events, please click here.