Briar Fowler is one of Waste Management’s Education Officers, working from the Auckland HQ at East Tamaki Road.

She first joined WM in February 2019 as part of the graduate recruitment programme. This has given her an excellent grounding in the business, allowing Briar to work across various locations and fields, including:

  • Operations in Christchurch, working on truck and scanning technology for RFID tags
  • Sustainability in Auckland, working on carbon foot printing, waste minimisation plans for the company, and recycling training sessions. Briar has also been integral in working on the Waste Management sustainability report – the second of which is due to come out soon
  • Integrated Business Planning in Auckland, which honed her  data analysis skills and helped establish good relationships with Waste Management’s regional and branch managers.

Today Briar is employed full time as Education Officer, working with the Upper North Island municipal team and Auckland Council to educate south and east Auckland residents about how best to minimise their waste.

What have you enjoyed about being on the graduate programme? It’s been an incredible opportunity to learn about different aspects of the business. Waste is not straightforward, and I’ve been very lucky to gain a lot of knowledge in a short period.

What is the biggest problem you come across as Education Officer? Very often its heavy overloading of general waste bins. Much of the waste that people put in their general bin can be recycled. Knowing how to recycle efficiently and make better choices around packaging and products can significantly reduce your general waste.

I live in a flat with five people and our general waste bin was full up every week. It was getting to the stage where we needed another wheelie bin. But by better recycling and being deliberate in our consumer choices, together we now throw out less than a rubbish bag full each week.

What is something you’d like graduates to know when they are considering joining Waste Management? There is a lot to waste. I’ve learnt so much from leading experts in their fields, who have all been very generous with their time. It’s also very important to challenge and ask questions – because you don’t know what you don’t know.

What should everyone know about Waste Management? Our aim is to sustainably take care of New Zealanders’ waste. Everything we do is geared towards building a circular economy and minimising the impact of climate change.

Where to next? I would really love the opportunity to go into schools to help educate students about reducing their waste and recycling as much as possible. It’s important we all understand that waste is ultimately everyone’s responsibility.