Students’ rubbish a frustration for residents

University of Otago students have gone home after finishing their exams, leaving piles of rubbish...
University of Otago students have gone home after finishing their exams, leaving piles of rubbish in Castle St. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
With exams finished and friends flying home, areas of the University of Otago are awash with rubbish left behind by students.

Piles of rubbish enframed the properties on Castle St this week, with Dunedin residents taking to social media to voice their frustration and disappointment with this year’s mess.

One commenter said it was a shame, and it was time to crack down on student behaviour.

Another said it was absolutely disgusting, and was the result of council allowing a saturation of student rentals to overrun what was "a premier Dunedin suburb".

A University of Otago spokeswoman said larger-than-usual volumes of rubbish could accumulate when students had moved out, or were moving flats, once the academic year ended.

The university had undertaken several initiatives to educate students about Dunedin’s rubbish regulations as one of the goals of the Sophia Charter, launched in 2020, focused on rubbish reduction.

The rubbish in question was on private land, and the Proctor’s office directly contacted property management companies when it identified properties where there were issues with rubbish, the spokeswoman said.

The university worked closely with the Dunedin City Council which had a responsibility for rubbish on private and public land.

This year the council initiated extra recycling in North Dunedin and had increased the frequency of rubbish collection from fortnightly to weekly, the spokeswoman said.

A council spokesman said it was aware of complaints regarding rubbish in the student area.

"As a signatory to the Sophia Charter, the DCC helps to keep the tertiary area tidy and safe, working with students to make it easy for them to deal with rubbish and recycling."

It provided a weekly kerbside collection of all recycling bins and rubbish bags in the campus area, with three recycling hubs on Great King St, Castle St and Forth St.

"We encourage students to use these as they begin their flat cleanups.

"Students can help to keep the tertiary area tidy and safe by using these services and facilities," he said.

The spokesman said the council encouraged students to use the Rummage shop, at the Green Island landfill, as a home for pre-loved furniture and household goods.

It encouraged landlords to consider checking for unsorted rubbish and recycling at flat inspections, providing tenants with council rubbish bags or providing a trailer or skip for a few days at the start and end of semesters.