Community collaboration for a waste free future

There’s huge interest in Plastic Free July this year, with organisations sharing their resources through the new Plastic Free Aotearoa group. This Plastic Free July will be the first in New Zealand without single use plastic bags as the new law comes into force on 1 July. Down in Wanaka, Wastebusters is getting ready to celebrate with the town’s second Waste Free Fair on July 15. Wastebusters will be working with volunteer-run group Plastic Bag Free Wanaka, who see Wastebusters as “its mum – always supportive with advice, time and materials”. Plastic Bag Free Wanaka is set up as a social enterprise, and funds it’s campaign work through the sale of reusable bags and bottles.

The trick to hosting a waste-free event according to Wastebusters project manager Sophie Ward, is to find the zero waste leaders in your community.

“Look for the people in the community that are leading the way – because they want to share their knowledge.”

Sophie has found that people love teaching, demonstrating and sharing their expertise and experiences.

PBFW helps Wastebusters find those people, using its local networks on the ground and on social media. They are currently lining up people to demonstrate furoshiki wrapping, sew produce bags from old net curtains, help people make beeswax wraps and get creative with kids on an up-cycled craft stall, among other things.

Sophie said the first fair, held last year, showed just how much people wanted to connect.

“People wanted to come in and talk to us about what they were doing.”

The free event will showcase zero waste products, demonstrations, advice and inspiration. Its objective is to support members of the Upper Clutha community to access achievable and practical ways to reduce their waste, in particular single-use plastics. There will also be plenty of opportunities for fair-goers to interact with stall holders throughout the afternoon, as well as competitions, prizes and the Rubbish Trip’s comprehensive guide to waste free local shopping.

After the event, Wastebusters will complete a comprehensive how-to guide to share with the Zero Waste Network.