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-plastic-free-wanaka
Anna van Riel
Gina Dempster
Gina Dempster
joanna-perry-plastic-free-wanaka
Joanna Perry
Sarah Allen
Sarah Allen
Sophie Ward Plastic Free Wanaka
Sophie Ward