Sustainable waste management

Insights from waste management expert Zoie Bryce

Mission Zero hosts numerous climate change workshops throughout the year. In May 2024, our first Behaviour Change session featured several round-table discussions led by professionals experienced in sustainable transport, energy, waste, and procurement.

In her role as Branch Manager for WM New Zealand Zoie Bryce collaborates with a diverse range of businesses to help them reduce their waste output. Her position allows her to cross sectors and focus on the most critical aspects of waste management for climate action. Zoie’s expertise in ‘talking rubbish’ is matched by her ability to inspire others to engage in sustainable practices.

To kick-off her round-table discussions, Zoie shared her approach to sustainable waste management:

  • Define Your “Why”: Understand the reasons behind your company’s desire to reduce waste.
  • Identify Your Champions: Leverage in-team influencers to drive change.
  • Calculate Your Baseline: Gather data to pinpoint areas of focus.
  • Start Small: Implement trial systems and processes to test effectiveness.
  • Celebrate the Wins: Engage your team by recognising and celebrating successes.
  • Drive Continuous Improvement: Evolve and share your learnings.
  • Rinse and Repeat

Zoie also shared her key recommendations for driving change:

  • Leadership Commitment: Change must be driven from the top.
  • Empower Champions: Keep champions informed and equipped with tools, such as financial incentives and progress reports, so that they can continue to motivate others.
  • Share positive progress: Recognise and share achievements to maintain momentum.
  • Engage Suppliers: Set clear expectations and agree on achievable goals at the point of contracting.
  • Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose: Consider what you allow into your business, what you want to refuse and what you can use in a different way. Better yet, seek opportunities to turn waste into profit.
  • Educate and Inform: Break longstanding myths about waste by getting informed and educating others.

It’s estimated that Aotearoa New Zealand sends over 12 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year, placing the country among the highest waste generators per capita in the developed world.1 Consequently, waste management is constantly evolving and improving. By committing to better waste management processes and enlisting help from suppliers, businesses can now monitor their waste levels and make changes that significantly reduce their CO2e emissions.

  1. Taken from the Sustainable Business Network’s Reduce Waste online resource ↩︎

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