Rick Thorpe, Valerie Bianchi and Dallas Butler SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production

For the past 21 years Raglan-based Xtreme Zero Waste has led the way nationally with recycling and sustainability practices. 

Now it has the opportunity to share some of that good work with others involved in The Waikato Wellbeing Project.  “We very quickly realised it was an extension of what we were doing already,” says managing director Dallas Butler.

“We would like to assist all of the other Manu Taki in their journey to understand how to avoid waste.  It doesn’t occur in nature – there is no waste.  It has only occurred in the last few generations. So, we are committed in the next couple of generations to leave waste behind.”

“Effectively we are behaviour change agents and influencers.  That is where we get the most traction from.  We happen to work in the sector of waste,” says co-founder Rick Thorpe. 

“So, the Waikato Wellbeing Project has just given us a really cool platform because you get that social glue and you get to bring in all the other Manu Taki.  So, when things hit the right spot you get a great movement and influence so it creates a good cohort.”  

Butler, Thorpe are Manu Taki for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.  

For the past 21 years Xtreme Zero Waste has held the contract with Waikato District Council to look after waste in the Raglan area, through running the Raglan Resource Recovery Centre.    XZW offers services including a reuse shop, metal yard, a wood yard, e-cycle drop off, business recycling, consultancy and mentoring.

Thorpe says it is about the community and taking responsibility for waste “and part of that is not really waiting for permission.”

“So, there is a feeling in this area, that blame can be put on other people or an expectation that it will be resolved for you, so I believe this Waikato Wellbeing Project is more about behaviour change at the core as an individual, so also as a nation and as a planet we all need to make some changes.” 

Butler says at Xtreme Zero Waste they believe everyone has a role to play – whether that be councils, corporates or individuals.  “Our greatest asset is actually our people who do things among themselves – in their own homes or in their communities.”   Xtreme Zero Waste is a flourishing entity which provides employment for more than 40 people.  

Butler says the Sustainable Development Goals of the project cross over, “It is not only about waste, it also about employment and wellbeing so we are trying to find ways where we cross over.”  

Val Bianchi, who is supporting the Manu Taki for this project, used to work at Xtreme Zero Waste.  She has always been driven by a desire to describe environmental things in a non-depressing way, or in a way that really motivates people.   

She is now a waste prevention advisor at Waikato Regional Council and a passionate sustainability champion.