Kai to Compost's Meagan Miller
Based at the Landfill in Happy Valley, Meagan’s main role is to drive waste minimisation, which she does by spending her time between education, managing the fantastic Kai to Compost service, and working on waste minimisation projects.
“My work resonates with my values – I want our environment to be healthy for people; clean air, healthy soils, water we can swim in, a safe climate, all of these things make a huge difference to the quality of people's lives, and waste directly ties in with all of these things,” she says.
With international research showing that food wasted in the US, UK and Europe could end malnourishment for one billion people around the world, it’s not surprising that a regional food waste project and Kai to Compost are such important initiatives.
Kai to Compost collects food scraps and leftovers from over 150 restaurants and cafes around Wellington which is in turn made into compost and sold for local use – and for as little as $7.50 a week, that’s a pretty awesome service.
“We’re involved in a National Food Waste Data Collection Project which will provide Wellington figures to add into a national data set. This is new research for New Zealand. It will be really interesting to see the results as food waste is a big issue, and needs to be better understood to be tackled.”
The information will be amassed through bin audits, household kitchen diaries, and online surveys, and the data will go towards educating people on the costs of waste to the environment, the community, and their wallets!
Meagan has worked at the Landfill for over three years now, and believes her previous role as a nurse has helped to give her the right tools for the job.
“Qualifications for my role include excellent communication and public service skills, an understanding of the wonderful world of waste, skills in collaboration, project management, practical hands on experience for building worm farms... and a good sense of humour always helps!”
This humour came in handy when she was visiting a school recently: “I had brought a container of worms along with a few other bits and pieces in a bag to show the students. Mid-lesson I start pulling out items, and realised the worms were loose and were wiggling through everything…at least the kids were entertained by the great worm escape!”
Like the rest of the team at the Landfill, Meagan is very passionate about what she does, and who she does it with.
“It’s great because of the diversity of projects we have on the go or are planning, the great team of people I get to work with, and being able to enable people who approach me with waste challenges to resolve them wherever possible – we are trending in the right direction but there is a lot to get done.
“Waste is made up of many different materials – we want people to think of it as a valuable resource, and ask themselves whether they can reuse and/or recycle it, as well as look at ways they can reduce it.”
Originally from Australia, Meagan came to New Zealand because her partner got a great job opportunity, and they ended up staying, much to her parents’ dismay.
“I love Wellington, especially a walk along Makara beach to the bluff overlooking the ocean. On a clear day you can see the Marlborough Sounds and watch the sun set into the ocean – it’s breath-taking, and I never get tired of that view,” she admits.
For more information about rubbish and recycling, and the initiatives happening at the Landfill check out the page on our website here.