Some people need to stop relying on others, or the ocean, to pick up their garbage in the Marlborough Sounds, Waikawa Boating Club commodore Nicky Jenkins says.
She was one of more than 40 club members who sailed the Sounds in nine boats to pick up rubbish, as part of the club's annual beach cleanup on December 1.
The members picked up everything from broken bottles to light bulbs on beaches in Queen Charlotte Sound and in Tory Channel.
"There was a real mess in Ngakuta Bay this year on the foreshore and in the reeds; corrugated iron, old tyres, stubbies and plastic bottles.
"There were four bags of rubbish and that's really unacceptable," she said.
"People should know to take their rubbish out with them, instead of thinking they can leave it for others or that the sea will take care of it.
"It tends to be an ongoing issue. It's residents, visitors and boaties - anybody. They just need to make sure they take their rubbish out."
Club member Allan Graham, on La Vita Bella, told her that Missionary Bay was largely clear, unlike last year, while John Haack, on Eliza, found full bags of rubbish lying beside the solitary bach at Double Bay.
"They found a terrible mess in Mission Bay last year and there was hardly anything this year.
"Double Bay has one bach. There was no rubbish near the moorings, just around the bach," Ms Jenkins said.
The results of the cleanup were a reminder to people that the Marlborough Sounds is "not a rubbish tip".
"What's lost or thrown into the water or left on the foreshore, eventually ends up contaminating the beaches.
"Care is needed to take all rubbish out and leave nothing behind but our footprints," she said.
The club is planning another cleaning day in March.
Marlborough District Council coin skips are available in Rai Valley, Ohingaroa Quarry in Mahau Sound, Portage in Kenepuru Sound and at The Grove in Grove Arm.
Transfer stations are available in Picton, Havelock and Rai Valley.
Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeill said December, January and February would be the busiest months for the transfer stations, which would funnel all recycling and waste products to the main station in Blenheim, or the Bluegums landfill at Wither Hills.
"Recycling is the answer to a problem that we've created. The best outcome is to cut out excess waste in the first place."
Agricultural waste is dumped in giant mounds as it comes in and is turned into fertiliser, then sold at the station when ready.
Electronics are stripped for any valuable parts and sent to a scrap metal factory in Christchurch.
Bottles are sold and sent via train to recycling plants in Auckland or Christchurch.
Commercial waste, which often contains recyclable products, is sorted on a small scale, but the council intends to improve the sorting process in the future, he said.
The leftover waste is dumped with household rubbish at the landfill, which should last until 2060 when it will be covered with dirt and shaped to blend in with the surrounding Wither Hills.
- The Marlborough Express