Farewell to Wastebusters’ Sue Coutts

Sue Coutts, (left) is taking her experience to the national level. Al Dickie (right) is taking the helm.

Wastebusters general manager Sue Coutts will be leaving Wastebusters in April to take up an exciting new strategic leadership role in Wellington with the Zero Waste Network.

Sue has been at Wastebuster for 18 years, managing Wastebusters two recycling and reuse sites, and advocating nationally for waste reduction.

The new role will allow her to spend all her time on creating change at a national level.

 "Wastebusters is a big part of me and it's really hard to leave, but I had to take this unique opportunity to work on how we deal with waste nationally," said Sue.

"My new job is an extension of the strategic work I've been doing on behalf of Wastebusters for many years, and it will be amazing to be able to spend 100 percent of my time on that.

“Wastebusters was really involved in getting the Waste Minimisation Act in place in 2008. We’re finally seeing government action to implement some of the key levers to reduce waste and introduce product stewardship, so it’s an exciting time to be moving to Wellington.

“Wastebusters and the Zero Waste Network have always teamed up on national advocacy and strategy, so I still get to work closely with the Wastebusters team and contribute to the Wastebusters mission to lead the way to zero waste.” 

Sue said her decision to leave had been made easier by her confidence in the strong team in place at Wastebusters.

“It’s great timing that this week we’ve welcomed on board our new operations manager Al Dickie, who will be based down at our Alexandra site.”

Al will oversee reuse and recycling operations for both the Wānaka and Alexandra sites. After 39 years in the police, he has more recently been Works Manager for Downer in Dunedin so brings a mix of operational and people skills.

Sue said she will miss the practical side of Wastebusters doing stuff in the real world.

“It’s easy to tell people to reduce, reuse and recycle, but Wastebusters is about providing a place and services to help people actually do it. It’s the combination of ideas and action which makes Wastebusters work so well.

When Sue started in 2002, Wastebusters had three part-time employees. Now the social enterprise has two sites with over 50 employees, and a turn-over of $2.7 million.

“Twenty years ago this was a brand new idea,” said Sue. “Now it’s normal, and we’re seeing social enterprises like Wastebusters being set up around the country.

This year Wastebusters Wanaka site will celebrate its 20th anniversary. 

“You bet I’ll be back for the party” said Sue. 


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