About Plastic Free Wānaka

How it all began.

In 2016 local mum of two Anna van Riel forgot to take her own bags to the supermarket.

Although Anna took a box that day for her groceries, she was struck by just how many bags were making their way out of supermarket doors and straight to landfill.

Due to a lack of awareness around the dangers of single-use plastics, and a need for a change in policy Anna went home and created a social media post on a community chat, and discovered that hundreds of others were feeling the same way.

Waste free team - Plastic Free Wanaka

Plastic Free Wānaka was born soon after.

It followed in the wake of Wānaka initiative ‘Bag the habit’, a campaign initiated by Sophie Ward, who went on to become a founding member of PFW.

With the support of community and a core team of passionate waste crusaders, the group formed as a social enterprise company with charitable status in 2018.

They have since launched a series of waste-free initiatives to support community, such as  SUCfree Wānaka (single-use cup free Wānaka), a stage show and children’s superhero Waste Free Wanda, and educational videos with mascot Plastic Free Paula.  The team have delivered a variety of community workshops and events, including the waste free fair, beeswax wrap and produce bag workshops, and have developed a Wanaka waste free shopping guide.

Meet the team

Plastic Free Wānaka

Anna van Riel
Gina Dempster
Gina Dempster
Joanna Perry
Sarah Allen
Sarah Allen
Sophie Ward Plastic Free Wanaka
Sophie Ward