The global movement about reducing plastic waste and single-use plastic bags has made its way to Waimangu.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley staff decided to join the Plastic Free July movement by spending the past week collecting more than a dozen bags of litter from along Waimangu Rd - and that's just the beginning.

Waimangu general manager David Blackmore enjoys the breath-taking vista every morning going to work, and said the Waimangu team were passionate about protecting the landscape for their visitors, too.

"As you turn off State Highway 5 on to Waimangu Rd, you're treated to panoramic views over to Rainbow Mountain. The first glimpse of Mount Tarawera as you turn the corner takes your breath away," Blackmore said.


"We do so much to ensure that the scenic reserve that we operate in is pristine, it makes sense to expand that to our surrounding area."

Waimangu staff started by covering the 6km stretch from the turn-off at State Highway 5 to the Waimangu entrance. In that distance, they collected 10 bags of rubbish, mostly plastic.

Kamul Kaur picks up rubbish on the side of the road. Photo / Supplied
Kamul Kaur picks up rubbish on the side of the road. Photo / Supplied

"It's a bit of an eye opener seeing how just much waste just gets dumped, and really disappointing to see a lot of the items we picked up, like the bottles and cans, could be recycled," Blackmore said.

The team then tackled the other half of the road, continuing down towards Lake Okaro and State Highway 38, throughout the remainder of last week.

The clean-up was timed to coincide with Plastic Free July, but is part of a year-round wider commitment to sustainability.

"We're a long way from being plastic free, but we're making lots of steps in the right direction. We've just completed a huge renovation of the café and retail areas, including a switch to more sustainable packaging, sourcing locally made goods and expanding our recycling programme," Blackmore said.

"There's still lots more we can do to protect our little piece of paradise. It's great to make a statement for Plastic-Free July, but that's just the start."