Zero-waste trailblazer sets sights on business

A Whangaripo woman who has led a local charge to increase sustainability and cut plastic usage has won the Trailblazer category in the 2018 Auckland Zero Waste Awards.

Josie Jackson was up against more than 30 people, including national initiatives, but her programme of sustainability workshops and a sustained campaign to make and promote reusable bags saw her come out on top.

She says winning the award, which was for someone who “has gone above and beyond demonstrating their passion, knowledge, encouragement and empowerment for zero waste in their community”, came as a complete surprise.

“There were some amazing people nominated, including people I’ve followed on Facebook, like Love Food Hate Waste and Zero Waste NZ, so I was really humbled and stoked to win,” she says.

The judges praised Josie for working with people of all ages and backgrounds to run workshops on making wax wraps, paper straws, reusable bags and natural skin care and cleaning products, as well as setting up the Zero Waste Matakana Coast Facebook page.

Now, she is taking things a stage further by offering herself as a sustainability consultant to local businesses, providing waste audits of what is being thrown away and showing how that can be cut back to reduce waste disposal bills and landfill rubbish.

She says that with China no longer recycling most plastic waste, everyone needs to make a conscious effort to stop using plastic, businesses included.

Josie started her zero waste, plastic-free crusade two years ago, after realising that many people didn’t realise how serious the global situation was becoming.

“I’ve always been ‘green’, but I became really aware that I could be doing so much more,” she says.

“So I decided to run workshops and start a Facebook page and just try to do my bit to let people know how they can help.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, there are some amazing companies out there and some amazing people coming up with ideas, but we all really need to pull our fingers out.”