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Waste Wizards interviewed by Envirohub BoP

December 2019

Regional Environment Network Member Spotlight is on

Vinnie Callister from Waste Wizards


Vinnie in front of event waste bins. photo supplied.

Tell us about yourself and how and why you got involved with Waste Wizards

"Validation tastes sweet like the thickened caramel sauce that oozes from compostable churro trays into the green bin"

  I juggle a lot of balls and wear a lot of hats. I've grown Waste Wizards in my spare time around my full-time job as a textile fabricator at Baytex. I also play top-level football for Tauranga City AFC and Futsal for the Bay of Plenty in the NZ superleague. And, I make patchwork vests and jackets from waste textiles under the guise, " Euo Mama".

Waste Wizards was born from a mixture of experience in being a zero-waste volunteer, a design student, a lover of events and someone with a desire to create a better tomorrow.

I had 3 years experience doing waste volunteer roles at events and festivals of many shapes and sizes and grew frustrated at wheelie bins and their role in the system. I greatly craved a new way to sort waste. It all started with some clear PVC I found in the company skip bin. I grabbed it and folded in a few ways that got me thinking of the possibilities. The first prototype of bins were made in my tea breaks and lunchtimes at work.

It felt like slow progress for a while and I really wore myself out. Earlier in the year, I'd managed to secure a trial at the Gourmet Night Market (GNM) so I had a deadline to get my bins done. I anxiously took the deadline to the eleventh hour but managed to successfully and proudly have my signs, structures, bags and systems ready for the first market.

Validation tastes sweet like the thickened caramel sauce that oozes from compostable churro trays into the green bin. Minimising waste at that GNM felt very validating that what I was doing wasn't crazy, nor was it a gimmick but instead a new way to look at waste. Through the bags...

Thanks to an injury in 2018, I had the time and capacity to apply for funding to boost the project from various avenues. An application to the TCC waste minimisation fund came back as successful and it allowed me to sharpen up the design of the bags. It also allowed me to oversee the manufacture of the bags during work hours as a scheduled job and it has given Waste Wizards enough bins to cater to an event the size of Bay Dreams.


Photo supplied

I've had lots of little helping hands along the way. Sam Perniskie has been my brand and graphics man, Nick Russell my business advisor and Brody Corder with help to deliver the service. Special mention to Cayley McLean at the council, Leo Murray for the ongoing support and to Kim Renshaw for laying a solid foundation for Waste Minimisation in the Bay of Plenty. Waste Wiz's diversion rates for the GNM17 were around the 96% mark which I am still really proud of! The reality is that Kim had already done lots of the hard work in the GNMs previous years to ensure the vendors had compost friendly serve wear.

Tell us about your group

Waste Wizards is based in Mt Maunganui, we want to continue to increase our scope for events to provide the waste min service to.

Tell us a little about a project or initiative your group is doing

We currently focus on events but would love to scale the bins for business, domestic and commercial situation in the future. Watch this space!

What successes, roadblocks or hiccups have you experienced?

I've only ever been able to drip feed the business/project as work and other commitments don't leave me much left to do this justice. However, we've achieved a lot and the waste diversion from landfill at events is a testament.

Do you have any hints, tips or advice to share with fellow Regional Environment Network members?

Get stuck in! Grow food, feed worms, grow community and smile!

What is your favourite plant, animal or thing and why?

Bees then worms. They both give and take away so gracefully.


"Lots of people commented on the environmental practices that we put in place at the event, including the waste disposal process. Vinnie used see-through bags at the waste station which meant people could easily see where to put their waste"  

Elle Reid

2017/18 Papamoa Fun Run Event Director

For more information about Waste Wizards contact Vinnie at

If you'd like your group featured in an upcoming Regional Environment Network Newsletter, please email Emma at

Euo Mama Clothing


Vinnie makes exclusive and completely unique clothes from unwanted fabrics and turns them into works of wearable fashion under the clothing label "Euo Mama".

Check out his Facebook store using the button below. 

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