Tasman & Nelson Sustainable Living Info

Access the Learning Guides

Both Tasman District and Nelson City support the Sustainable Living education trust (Future Living Skills programme).
You have arrived at our local info page.

To enable free downloads of the learning guides on eight topics, register just your email and the district name (use Tasman and Nelson option) on the quick form linked here.

For information on living more sustainably - in addition to the page content below:   Tasman, click here

Nelson, click here.  and on Nelson sustainability at home page

Your two local Council contacts are Nichola Brydon at Tasman Council, email: nichola.brydon@tasman.govt.nz and Karen Lee, Environmental Programs Supervisor at lesswaste@ncc.govt.nz  (03 546 0200)

Community Gardens

Join with others to develop your skills to grow the best vegetables, fruit and herbs for yourself and others. Please make contact using the links below:


Gardening more sustainably

Tasman Council website (scroll down page, for gardening) 

Nelson urban food growing guide (download PDF)

Regional guide on how to grow fruit and nut trees

There are a range of 'edible walks' in Nelson

Permaculture in Nelson Group (P!NG), meet at Free House, fortnightly Tuesdays 7pm  Ted Howard 021 2386450  kitesfun@gmail.com or Myk Rushton 0213626564  MeetUp website.

Best Use of Resources

To make the best use of resources we value the resources that we already have and think about the consumer choices we make. If more of the resources we purchase and use are reusable, recyclable and support healthy social structures, we can reduce the need for unnecessary waste. We favour a circular economy.

Great ideas and information can be found around reducing, reusing and recycling on the Nelson Environment Centre website

For shopper guides to low waste purchases see the Rubbish Trip's pages on Nelson-Tasman and  Golden Bay

Electronic Waste is the fastest growing type of waste globally.  They contain dangerous substances that can be toxic if not handled correctly. They contain dangerous substances that can be toxic if not handled correctly. Electronic waste is anything with a plug or battery, and these items (with the exception of large whiteware) can be recycled responsibly through Nelson Environment Centre’s e-cycling programme for which there is a charge. A subsidy of up to $20 is available to Nelson and Tasman residents for this e-cycling programme.

Recycling collections

In Nelson City for 'glass blue crate' and wheelie bin kerbside fortnightly collections.   Remember to exclude soft plastic packaging and bags, as they can't be recycled at present. Nelson City recycling guide.  Nelson City Council has a public drop off for recycling at its transfer station in Vivian Place, Nelson – this link has opening hours, charges and information on what is accepted at the transfer station.

Within Tasman, a yellow-lidded mixed recycling bin is provided to each rated residence for recycling card, paper, hard plastics and metal cans; a blue bin is provided for glass collection. These are collected every two weeks.  More info on Tasman kerbside collections.  (includes downloadable Kerbside Recycling Guide pdf and the timetable).

There are public drop off recycling facilities and waste transfer stations run by Tasman Council at Richmond, Motueka -Mariri, Takaka, Collingwood and Murchison:

  • Collingwood Resource Recovery Centre (Transfer Station)
  • Motueka Resource Recovery Centre (Transfer Station)
  • Murchison Resource Recovery Centre (Transfer Station)
  • Richmond Resource Recovery Centre (Transfer Station)
  • Takaka Resource Recovery Centre (Transfer Station)

Richmond Resource Recovery Centre

By going through the kiosk, the Richmond Resource Recovery Centre will also take compact fluorescent and energy light bulbs, car batteries, small batteries, left over paint, clean fill or rubble to be recycled.  Also whiteware and car bodies can be dropped off for free if you follow requirements. A charge will be incurred if extra removal of items is required. Tyres can be dropped off for a small charge. The metal and sidewalls are removed so these can be then disposed of to landfill. The public drop off area will take used motor oil in sealed containers, empty gas bottles, oil-filled heaters and light and heavy gauge metal - to be recycled.

In Tasman, items can be dropped off or bought from Motueka Recycle Depot (used to be Cee Gee’s) on Robinson Road, Mariri, Motueka. Phone: 03 5267000 or email MotRecycleDepot@kinect.co.nz

Selling and gifting

If you have unwanted used or surplus as-new items, there are many things you can do rather than throwing them away.  Online marketplaces for selling items can be found, such as TradeMe or Facebook market place.  Op Shops always appreciate good quality items (see here for the map of Nelson Op Shops)  as do the Council transfer stations.  Other options include: Brightwater community FB,    Nelson-Motueka Online Garage Sale , Nelson Buy Sell Swap, and offering free goods via listing at Neighbourly. 

Remember that one person’s trash may be another person’s treasure, and Nelson City and Tasman District Councils run Secondhand Sunday every three months so that items can be put out on the pavement or berm for other people to take away

Waste free parenting

Find out about modern cloth nappies: The Nappy Lady  

Waste Free events:

Useful info for event organisers at Nelson City website and for enquiries email: lesswaste@ncc.govt.nz

Food waste and Green (garden) waste

Keeping this type of waste out of landfill is important to reduce greenhouse gas (methane, carbon dioxide) emissions.  For this reason both Councils offer a subsidy to residents for purchase of compost bins, worm farms and bokashi buckets from approved local retailers. 

If you’re new to composting the Council have a helpful video for beginners.  Remember you should always wear a mask and gloves when handling living compost: see our guide.   As well as home composting, there are other options for greenwaste (clippings and trimmings from your garden) which can be found here.

If you cannot recycle or re-use it – use the transfer stations as above in Murchison, Collingwood, Takaka, Motueka (Mariri) and Richmond. All of these wasted resources go to the landfill in Eves Valley !

Rubbish to landfill & hazardous wastes

 Tasman info on hazardous waste.

In Nelson: hazardous waste from your home must be taken to the Transfer Station instead of going out with your rubbish, including:

  • Plant and pest sprays
  • Waste oil
  • LPG bottles
  • Household chemicals
  • Paints and wood stains
  • Fluorescent light bulbs and batteries - refer to the manufacturers' advice

To find out if substances and wastes from households, commercial properties and businesses or farm or rural sites are hazardous and need careful disposal, do check out the Council options and services.  Also see Agrecovery.

Food choices

Love Food Hate Waste

The best ways to keep healthy are also good for our pockets and our environment. Here's some ideas links on making the most of your food budget and reducing waste:

Tasman Love Food Hate Waste webpage

Nelson Love Food Hate Waste webpage.

Nelson Environment Centre run Kai Rescue that collects unsellable but perfectly edible food and distributes it to the community

 Nelson Women's Centre - My Grandmothers Kitchen

Water Use and Impacts

Links for general information from Tasman District Council about water, including water saving tips

Water meter checking - find leaks, in town.

Nelson City tips on water use efficiency.

Help reduce water or stream pollution in Nelson streams and in Tasman  (not least to protect water quality for any abstractions)

Recipes for environment-friendly cleaners and household products you can make yourself - from Nelson Council.

Keep a watch on swimming water quality and on toxic Phormidium and other algae in Nelson streams, in summer.



Community Resilience & Emergency Preparedness

Civil Defence operations are jointly shared between Nelson City, Tasman District Council, Tasman Civil Defence.

Check out what you need and what you can do to be prepared for any emergencies  

Find out about what you can do for a range of different possible emergenies or events to 'get thru' during and afterwards.

Tsunami evacuation area maps are available online

Energy Efficiency at home

Home energy efficiency tips. See also the EECA Energywise website.

Nelson City  provides a free service to residents for building design and advice around energy efficiency, including how to keep your home warm and dry.  Contact Richard Popenhagen (email: Richard.Poppenhagen@ncc.govt.nz.)  Further information can be found at Nelson Eco-building design advisor

Tasman District page on clean heating, good wood and air quality. Nelson City Council has similar information here  

Solar power generation (photo-voltaics) is gaining popularity here, in the sunniest spot in New Zealand: do a site search on the internet for the many local companies and seek competitive quotes. NIWA have a calculator to estimate your solar PV potential. You can be grid-connected or at higher cost completely off-grid.(requires batteries and more care in power use).  Works best if you have a good area of north-facing roof slope.

Travelling around Nelson and Tasman

Whilst many of us reply on cars for transport, we know that cars are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions which lead to climate change, as well as polluting our environment.  Each moving car releases about 74 million cubic litres of polluted air in its lifetime and pollutants include:

  • Smoke particles - soot is worse from desiel than petrol engines
  • Carbon monoxide and dioxide, Nitrogen oxide - global warming gases
  • Nitrogen and Sulphur dioxides - acidic gases.
  • Ozone - combines with sulphur dioxide to make irritating summer smog
  • Tiny particles of rubber and brake lining (have often included copper) left on road surfaces, which wash into waterways.

Public transport options:
Tasman buses

Nelson buses

Other sustainable transport options:


Nelson City Council walking page.    'Top of the South' roads & routes map link. 

Tasman walking and cycling.


Find maps for great cycling paths to see around the district, on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail at 

Cycle safety information

Pedestrian safety

School travel planning in Nelson (Let's Go)


Extra info on Sustainability in Tasman and Nelson

Enviroschools is a facilitated Programme for schools and early childhood centres choosing a journey for their children and community, of becoming more sustainable. In Tasman this Programme has been supported by Tasman District Council since 2004.  Contact the Regional Coordinator and check out more about the Programme

Enviroschools in Nelson.

The Small Planet resource for early childhood education is available here. (download PDF for parents of preschoolers)


Check out the Council and Community Libraries in the Tasman District for reading material and videos which may help your efforts.

Similary, Nelson libraries

 Nelson Council sustainability at home webpage - for more links.

Community groups

There are many community groups which voluntarily support environmental efforts in Tasman District Council

Keep Richmond Beautiful

Keep Golden Bay Beautiful

Streamcare Tasman groups.   Nelson Nature - include stream groups

Nelson Environment Centre can help you connect with city-based groups

Environmental interest gatherings

TOTSEE – is the Top of the South Environmental Educators group,  usually meets once a term.

Access the Learning Materials

Click here to access our online learning materials.

Become a Course Facilitator

Click here to apply to become a Sustainable Living course facilitator.

Existing course facilitators, log in here

Tip: Power bills out of control?
Actions and equipment that can reduce electricity costs at home are the focus of our Energy guide.