Our people and their mahi - meet Charlotte


Meet Charlotte Phelps

What's your role and what does it involve?

I'm the Waste Minimisation Lead and the Tairawhiti Enviroschools Regional Coordinator.

As the Waste Minimisation Lead,  my work's driven by Council's Waste Minimisation Management Plan. The key focus of it is to minimise regional waste going to landfill and seek alternative solutions for the community.

We achieve this in a myriad of ways such as:

  • being part of nationwide recycling schemes
  • managing projects
  • working closely with the Tairawhiti Environment Centre
  • seeking out education opportunities
  • organising events such as community beach cleanups and connecting with the community.

As the Enviroschools Regional Coordinator I work with the wider national team to make sure we have ongoing funding and support for our 2 local Enviroschools facilitators. This year Tairāwhiti Enviroschools expanded into the early childhood sector. We love having our young tamariki on the sustainable living journey.

What do you enjoy about your role?

Seeing how many incredible people and businesses there are in the community. Both in working and volunteering - doing their part to create a positive future for our region.

Sometimes it's hard to understand why people litter or illegally dump stuff. But it’s also very encouraging seeing all of the good that's happening in the waste space within our community.

My 9-year-old self wrote a piece about minimising waste and recycling correctly. I now feel privileged to be in this role, tying waste minimisation into the Enviroschools kaupapa. It's my experiences at school as a youngster which influenced me to be a conscious carer of the planet.

What are the challenges of the job?

Being asked by the community for certain services or solutions but not being in a position to deliver them.

Also being in an isolated region along with the infrastructure challenges to join in on nationwide recycling schemes. We’re doing our best, but I’m still seeing so much waste everywhere.

How can the public make it easier for you to get your job done?

By considering that I’m in this role because I care about minimising waste and educating our younger generation, but realising that things don't happen overnight.  My focus is on making sure what we do here in the waste space is robust and sustainable.

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy gardening, travelling and marrying people! I am a registered marriage celebrant.