York Valley Landfill

Do you ever wonder where your rubbish goes? Most of us don’t think about it. We put our council bags out to be collected and off it goes. Never to be seen again.

If you live in the Nelson / Tasman region, your rubbish gets put on a pile - well, more like a mountain - up York Valley. The York Valley Landfill is in Bishopdale, just outside Nelson City. This is where all the rubbish trucks in the area go to take their load. It’s amazing to see. It’s actually a mountain made out of rubbish.

Downer contracted me to spend a day with their team to photograph what goes on in the day of the life of a landfill.

The team get an early start before the rubbish trucks start arriving. There’s a fair bit of maintenance to do on the equipment.


Interestingly, they also maintain the pipework that harnesses methane gas from the decomposing waste. This gas is piped to the Nelson Hospital down the hill to power the hospital generator.


When the trucks start arriving with our waste, the team get into their vehicles and start moving and compacting the trash. The trucks drive over the layer that was created the day before after it is covered with soil. And so the mountain gets bigger.


This tractor has special metal wheels to churn and compact the rubbish.


They add fill as they go…


Here are some of the team members…


At the end of the day, they cover all the rubbish that was dumped that day with a layer of sawdust and soil ready to start again tomorrow.


Now you know.