It’s been 20 years since a group of Wanaka locals got together to start a community recycling centre called Wastebusters. It’s time to celebrate! 

Throughout November we’ll be sharing stories from the last two decades, and offering ways for the community to celebrate with us; such as site tours and free beeswax wrap sessions at both sites, a drop-in celebration in Alexandra and a day of cake and celebrations in Wanaka (see schedule below). 

Since we officially started working towards zero waste in 2000, with three staff, Wastebusters has gone from strength to strength thanks to the contributions of hundreds of people, a clear vision and supportive community. 

The organisation now employs over 50 full and part-time staff over our two sites in Wanaka and Alexandra. 763 businesses recycle with us. Last year we sent 2,280 tonnes of material to become recycled content, and around 135,000 customers took home something from our reuse shops.

We’ve done a lot of growing, we’ve had a lot of fun, and there are plenty of achievements to celebrate! 

Some of the highlights of the last 20 years have been:

  • bringing recycling to Wanaka and running the first kerbside recycling service 2007-11
  • joining with Central Otago Wastebusters so we could continue to offer recycling, reuse and waste reduction services to the Alexandra and Central Otago communities
  • running the Unpackit Awards to reduce ridiculous packaging
  • bringing repair workshops to the district
  • helping the Queenstown Lakes community know how to use their kerbside recycling bins, and seeing over 3,000 tonnes of kerbside glass recycled since July 2019
  • supporting community initiatives such as SUCfree Wanaka, MAD4CO, Thyme Festival, Plastic Free Wanaka and One Summit
  • funding the Enviroschools facilitator for Early Learning Centres in Wanaka
  • part-funding Enviroschools facilitator for schools in Wanaka and Queenstown
  • supporting local festivals with real recycling including Tuki and R&A

As we head into the next 20 years we want to continue helping our community to be resourceful and resilient, a place where everyone can prosper. We’re excited to see what else we can get done together. To zero waste and beyond!


Schedule of events

We’re running a series of free events throughout November to celebrate turning 20. Everyone’s welcome to come along! 


Site tours (Wanaka and Alexandra)

Take a look behind the scenes and learn about our operations: What do we take for recycling? Where does it go? How many tonnes of material do we send for reprocessing each year? How many staff do we have? (and why do they seem to have so much fun!?)

No bookings required. Meet at the shop front (Wanaka) or counter (Alexandra). Please allow 30 minutes.


  • Wednesday 4 November, 3.30pm
  • Saturday 14 November, 10am & 3.30pm
  • Wednesday 18 November, 3.30pm



  • Thursday 5 November, 3.30pm
  • Thursday 19 November, 3.30pm
  • Saturday 28 November, 11am


Beeswax wraps drop-in sessions

Pop in to make your own beeswax wrap!



  • Friday 20 November, 11am & 3.30pm


  • Friday 13 November, 3.30pm
  • Saturday 14 November, 11am


Repair Revolution events

The last of our Repair Revolution events


  • Alexandra: Sunday 15 November, Alexandra Community House, 10am-2pm
  • Queenstown: Sunday 28 November, Queenstown Events Centre, 10am-2pm


Casual drop-in celebration 

  • Alexandra site, Friday 20 November, 4pm-6pm


Day of cake 

We’re putting on a day of cake for you! Join us outside the shop from morning tea until it runs out!

  • Alexandra site, Friday 20 November 
  • Wanaka site, Friday 27 November


Formal celebrations

  • Wanaka site, Friday 27 November, 5.30pm – 7pm


Party party!

  • Wanaka site, Friday 27 November, 7pm onwards (Wasties finery encouraged)