Waste Free Fair sets attendance record

Pictured: More than 600 people went to this year's Waste Free Fair, with locals and visitors happy to learn how to make t-shirt bags, beeswax wraps and produce bags. Photo: Photo: Isaac McCarthy .

Wanaka saw a record-breaking 650 people attend the Waste Free Fair (WFF) at Lake Wanaka Centre last Sunday as locals brought their energy and enthusiasm for waste-free living through the front door.

The WFF has become an annual affair in town co-hosted by Wastebusters and not-for-profit, voluntary group Plastic Free Wanaka; the fair provides an array of solutions for those who want to cut plastic waste out of their lives. This year’s events included tips ranging from honey wrap demonstrations to children’s upcycling ideas as well as the Japanese folding art of Furoshiki.

“Our town has come so far in the last few years,” said Wastebusters’ Sophie Ward. “As a community people are taking it to the next level and going beyond the simple stuff looking for solutions. People loved the easy, practical ideas we had to move beyond packaged goods — like making their own beeswax wraps and produce bags. We had lots of people talking to us about where Wastebusters recycling goes, and what and how to recycle.

Ward said they had two bulk food refill systems at the fair, both launched this month, which demonstrates how retailers are reacting to customer demand.  

“With no soft plastic recycling in the district, people are looking for an alternative,” said Ward. “Bulk bins are a great solution to avoid food wrapped in plastic packaging that’s destined for landfill.” 

The WFF team said they are keen to know what people thought about the 2019 festivities. Those who attended Sunday’s fair can visit Plastic Free Wanaka’s Facebook page to fill out an event survey. 

“It’s not too late to join Plastic free July (PFJ), you can sign up on the PFJ website to get tips on how to reduce your plastic waste,” said Wastebusters’ Ruth Blunt. “If you were inspired by the WFF, why not make a pledge to cut down on your waste. Start with bringing your water bottle, cup or container for takeaway food and drink. Every time you choose to refuse single-use plastics, you can make a difference.”


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