Be a responsible traveller and help to keep New Zealand clean.

Taking responsibility for your litter is an important part of caring for New Zealand. Here are simple responsible travel tips to help you keep New Zealand clean.

Leave no trace

It’s a simple principle; always make sure you dispose of your rubbish responsibly.

That means that if you are camping in one of New Zealand’s many remote and beautiful camping spots, or hiking along one of our many wonderful trails, you need to collect all of your rubbish and carry it with you until you can find a bin.

As DOC says, if you pack it in, pack it out

Reduce your waste

Cutting down on the amount of waste you create can go a long way to helping keep New Zealand clean. Try the following tips to reduce your waste as you’re travelling.

Pack a reusable drink bottle

In New Zealand, an estimated 828 million single-use plastic bottles are thrown away every year. Help to cut down on the amount of plastic bottles going into landfill, recycling, or the environment, by using a drink bottle. 

Tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink anywhere in the country. You can refill your bottle from the many public drinking fountains, or in cafes where water is provided free of charge, or from the tap in your accommodation.

RefillNZ even has a database of free refill stations, where you can fill your drink bottle with safe drinking water.

By carrying a reusable drink bottle, you can cut down on the amount of plastic waste you create and save money at the same time.

Carry your own cutlery

You can reduce your waste by carrying your own knife, fork, and spoon. It’s handy to have a cutlery set when camping in the wilderness, but also when getting takeaway meals in the city – refusing single-use plastic cutlery is a great way to travel more sustainably.

Carry a reusable bag

Plastic bags were banned in New Zealand in 2019. While paper bags are available, they still have an environmental impact. Make supermarket shopping easier and greener by carrying a reusable bag.

Shop greener

Replace single-use plastic or paper produce bags with your own reusable bags. You can also shop in local farmers markets to reduce the amount of packaging you go through and support local growers at the same time.

When nature calls, use a bathroom

You’ll find toilets at every DOC hut and campsite, at popular car parks, and at most beaches. You can also find bathrooms in supermarkets, cafes, town centres and malls.

Never miss an opportunity to use the bathroom while travelling, especially if you’re heading off on a walk into the wilderness.

If you do find yourself on a hiking trail with no bathroom in sight, dig a hole well away from people and water, and try to use as little toilet paper as possible. This prevents the spread of diseases and reduces the amount of waste left in our beautiful nature spots. 

If you’re freedom camping, you are usually required to be travelling in a self-contained vehicle with toilet facilities. Make sure you use these, instead of answering the call of nature in nature.

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