Wanaka Wastebusters.

Wanaka Wastebusters is a community enterprise which specialises in resource recovery and education for sustainability. We work on a local and national scale, including running the Unpackit Awards.

Wastebusters was set up by our community in 2000 so we could start recycling. From small beginnings with working bees and donated morning teas, Wanaka Wastebusters has grown to be one of the largest community recyclers in New Zealand and has delivered nationwide projects such as the Unpackit Awards.

Wastebusters is owned by its members, has charitable status and runs under a company structure. Any profits are used to provide extra services for our local community and to move towards zero waste.We run a recycling drop-off centre, and provide business and events recycling services. Wanaka Wastebusters re-use shop has become a destination in itself, with more than 80,000 visitors each year.

Education for sustainability is a key part of making our community more resourceful. We work with schools and preschools, as well as the wider community. We aim to provide an alternative to the throw-away society; one where people are proud to reuse things, to compost, to take their own packaging and to buy things that last.

What or how does your business contribute to a more sustainable NZ?

Wanaka Wastebusters models community led resource recovery. We have been instrumental in the development of the Community Recycling Network, and strongly support the establishment of other community recycling centres around the country. Our community enterprise approach puts business to work for the common good by creating positive social, environmental and local economic impacts. This helps prove the case for social enterprise as a force for change.

Wastebusters has also helped to raise public awareness of waste issues, especially packaging waste, recycling quality and product stewardship. In 2010 we set up the Unpackit Awards, to encourage producers and consumers to choose minimal packaging which won’t end up in the rubbish. The Awards have had a high level of public engagement, with over 15,600 votes choosing the 2013 winners. A number of companies have improved their packaging choices after winning or being short-listed for the Unpackit Worst Packaging Award.

Wanaka Wastebusters advocates for solutions to New Zealand’s waste issues, including product stewardship and clean stream recycling. We have been working with partners from the private and community sector to roll out nationwide recycling programmes for electronic waste through the RCN e-Cycle network and TV Takeback.

Certifications & sustainability programmes

Wanaka Wastebusters is a Conscious Consumers Accredited Business.

Sustainability Awards

Wanaka Wastebusters received a Judges Commendation in the Communicating Sustainability category of the 2013 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards.

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