The bins are back and the infamous Pig-Out Point is cleaner than it has been in years.
The rubbish saga made headlines in August last year when the New Plymouth District Council announced it was removing the bins at Pig-Out Point, formally known as Mt Bryan Domain.
The controversial no-bin policy was made in an attempt to combat messy and irresponsible takeaway eaters who had littered around the carpark for years.
However, the removal of the bins was met with mounting piles of rubbish, public outcry and was labelled a "complete failure" by many.
Late last year the council voted to put the bins back and since the reinstallation the place has been near spotless, council's customer and regulatory boss Mary-Ann Priest said.
"It's about behaviour at the end of the day and the littering there had been a problem for a long period of time.
"The whole issue and the debate really raised the public awareness and the outcome has showed people are now more than happy to use the bins," she said.
Councillor John McLeod, who lead the campaign to get the bins back said he was still monitoring the litter levels.
"I'm pleased with the way the community has responded. They are being tidy Kiwis and are being proud of our beautiful district and our environment," he said.
Mr McLeod said the no-bins fiasco may have been a case of ‘you don't know what you've got till it's gone'.
"It's not just about the bins being back at Pig-Out Point though. The overriding picture was about keeping our environment clean," he said.
However, not every one has taken heed of the littering debate.
Last week a member of the public watched a car full of teenagers drop their takeaway rubbish on the ground.
The car's licence plate number and a description of the offenders was then given to the council, and Mrs Priest said officials were investigating the issue and had made contact with the owner of the car.
A fine of up to $400 can be given to anyone who is found littering, and Mrs Priest said one $100 fine was dished out last year before the bins were put back.
The reinstated bins each has a sign on them saying "Littering will incur a fee of up to $400" and Mrs Priest said she encouraged the public to report sightings of littering to the council if details like the licence plate number had been taken down.
Sjaan Stevenson, 14 and her mother Rebecca Stevenson, 33, are frequent visitors of Pig-Out Point.
Ms Stevenson said there was rubbish everywhere when there were no bins but she had not seen anyone littering since the bins came back.
"It was stupid before when they weren't here, because the workers would have to come and pick up the rubbish off the ground, and there was always like three of them doing it.
"Now there's only one guy who comes and empties the bins. That must cost heaps less," she said.
Sjaan said it was good that the area was clean again as a lot of visitors and tourists came to Mt Bryan Domain. "It's heaps better now."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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