About Us

Karen Danenhauer sustainable recycling plastic business director


Kia ora!  My name is Karen and I created MamaGaia in 2020 with the rather ambitious goal of solving our plastic problem.  MamaGaia gives me a creative outlet that combines my love of the environment with my desire to be the change I want to see.

I have lived in many countries during my life - the US, Germany, Italy, Madagascar and now in beautiful New Zealand.  

I have always been passionate about the environment and love spending time outdoors.  In the last 20 years or so I have noticed increasing plastic and other waste cluttering our natural spaces.  Alarm bells really started ringing when I learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the increasing number of disturbing images of wildlife that has succumbed to plastic.

My quest for a solution led me to PreciousPlastic.com, and then my journey really got underway.  I bought a plastic shredding machine in January 2019 and began collecting, cleaning and shredding used plastic from my community, plastic that would have otherwise entered the landfill, been shipped overseas to an unknown fate, or caused the death of innocent animals.  

I love combining colours in different ways and proportions to produce the beautiful and unique soap dishes.  It's always so exciting whenever I break open the mould and have my first glimpse of the finished product.

Shredded plastic can be melted down and remade into almost anything imaginable.  I want to turn this plastic into something functional, encouraging less single-use plastic waste, and also beautiful so that we will be happy to have it around for the next few generations.  I've started with soap dishes, and the response has been encouraging.  I'm looking forward to developing more ways to make plastic clean up its own act.