Situated at the base of one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes, Wanaka is a dynamic town full of adventurers, creatives and nature-lovers.


After the explosion of a facebook thread on the growing concerns of plastic use in our town, local musician Anna van Riel compiled the shared posts and data in a newly formed social media group ‘Plastic Bag Free Wanaka-group’.

Gaining 200 members overnight it became apparent that talking wasn’t enough. So we are creating solutions to stop single-use plastic bags, and generally single-use plastic.

Our Vision:

Our vision is for Wanaka to be plastic bag free by 2019 and for a reduction of single use plastic in our community and across New Zealand.

Our Mission:

Through fun events and education, we’ll show people the harm done by single use plastics and make it easy and affordable to choose reusable options. We’ll advocate for national action and collaboration to reduce single use plastics used in New Zealand

This means that collectively, our town works together to eliminate our instinct to grab for a drink, meal, coffee or product that is sold in something we immediately throw away after consuming.

Did you know that we are each responsible for 350 plastic bags on average per year, which we use for 12 minutes before it ends up in a land-fill. Times this by the population of Wanaka, then NZ, and even the planet! If we don’t do something to change, statistics show that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.

Our Actions

After a logo competition held in May 2016, we organised several sewing drives to sew 220 handmade unique bags made by locals with donated fabrics and sold them on pledgeme, together with bottles and cups.

With this initial fund, we purchased 1000 reusable bags to sell in Wanaka to locals and tourists. And we’ll continue our initiatives to phase out plastic in our community and our country.

We are currently preparing Plastic Free July.

Check out our Facebook Page for events and news.

Be part of a great movement!

Our Team in 2017

[photo coming up!]

Our Team (L to R) in 2016

Florence Micoud- committed environmentalist and wordpress superstar

Sophie Ward- project manager and long time plastic free Wanaka campaigner

Tina Nyfors – visiting environmentalist, keeps us real

Anna van Riel- initiator, singer/songwriter/doer of local stuff

Beth Jenkin- doer/thinker/awesome committee member

Gina Dempster- Wanaka Wastebusters Communications Manager

Rebecca Simpson – chief sewer and pattern maker

Leigh Cooper (not in photo) – graphic designer extraordinaire, winner of our logo competition