A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Wastebuster's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Wastebuster is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Founder Katy Newnham
Captain Busta shows pupils how recycling
happens at a material recycling facility
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “education is the most
important weapon which you can use to change the world” –
a principle that sits at the heart of Surrey-based, not-for-profit
organisation, Wastebuster. By delivering engaging content and
interactive educational resources, Wastebuster helps young people
develop respect, compassion and connection with the natural
world, so that they in turn feel inspired and driven to protect it for
a more sustainable future. Founder Katy Newnham takes us on
her journey, explaining how and why Wastebuster provides young
people with the hope they need to make change happen.
The vision
The plight of sea life affected by pollution was brought to the world’s attention when
it was exposed by
Blue Planet II
. However, my realisation of this fact took place many
years prior to this. In my early career, I worked as an underwater photographer in the
Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea. I felt both privileged
and humbled to witness this extraordinary underwater world and its inhabitants. At
the same time, however, I began to experience an overwhelming sadness, anger and
frustration at seeing this fragile and precious world blighted by pollution.
It was this experience and the generous help of supportive individuals, philanthropists,
businesses, charities, NGOs and local government in England that brought Wastebuster
to life. It was always my intention for Wastebuster to encourage pro-environmental
behaviour by engaging, informing, inspiring and – critically – empowering children
to take a proactive approach to waste reductionandmanagement.
»Founder: Katy Newnham
»Established in 2005
»Based in Surrey
»Services: Educational resources
for sustainable development
»No. of employees: Between 10
and 30 at any given time
»Roughly one million school
children and 690,000
households engage with
just one of our “Recycling
Rewards” challenges
Highlighting best practice
We capture children’s imaginations
with the power of story and relatable
characters, and bring waste education
to life by showing the changes we can
make in the way we learn, live, play
and work. Similarly, we show them the
impact this can have elsewhere around
the world.
Twelve years on
Some 12 years after we first started,
our vision is now to activate a
global “Education for Sustainable
Development Partnership” (ESDP)
to bring cross-sector stakeholders
together. This helps them to share
knowledge, technology and resources
to improve the co-ordination of
sustainable development education.
Specifically, through national and
global youth-focused campaigns
aiming to promote responsible
consumption, we hope to support
the development of the circular
economy. Importantly, the campaigns
will measure the social, economic
and environmental impact of better
civic engagement, such that the
progress towards the UN’s Sustainable
Development Goals is demonstrated.
The first campaign on plastics, food
waste and carbon will be trialled in
the UK, with a view to subsequent
delivery via NGOs in 76 countries,
who together represent a combined
network of over 250,000 schools and
72 million young people worldwide.
In line with these goals, we are
working with young people to get their
voices heard. Never has it been more
important to provide young people
with the tools and mindset necessary
to effect a more sustainable world.
In the UK, an important component
of our work is collaborating with
local authorities to start campaigns in
schools that specialise in whole-school
engagement through environmental
education. The objective is to kickstart
waste reduction, contamination
and recycling initiatives. Since 2008,
our characters and resources have
fronted WRAP’s Recycle Now schools
campaign, and our partnership has
extended to delivering multiple
national recycling campaigns outside
of schools. Alongside this, we have
made widespread household and
community engagement possible
through schools engaged in our local
authority programmes.
Our local authority programmes
incorporate lesson plans, homework
challenges and videos that explain
environmental topics in an exciting
and compelling way. Many of the
videos include the Wastebuster USP,
an intergalactic space monkey, more
commonly known as “Captain Busta”.
He explores, investigates and teaches
children about waste and care for
the environment through his exciting
adventures on Earth with the rest of
the Wastebuster space crew.
Having engaged over one million
school children and some 690,000
households with just one of our
national “Recycling Rewards”
challenges, we have gained experience
delivering messages that carry from
the classroom into the home and
Zac Goldsmith MP with
Ursuline Academy and
their bee hotels made
from plastic bottles
at Wastebuster’s
Parliamentary Primary
Earth Summit
to encourage
behaviour by
inspiring and
– critically –
Wastebuster and schools
Our local authority school programme
supports schools in waste and
recycling campaigns, focusing on
waste minimisation and sustainable
resource management. This involves
key messaging on the need to
reduce, reuse and recycle effectively
without contamination, as well as on
howsustainable resource management
can be promoted as part of everyday
lifestyle choices.
We also deliver other services to support
effective school engagement – an
example of which is the management
of eco-committees in 14 schools,
which forms Wastebuster’s national
eco-committee. This group provides
Wastebuster with an opportunity
to benefit from pupil and teacher
consultation, so as to test the delivery
of new resources and create case study
media to help engage otherschools.
Our national and international
school engagement campaigns
are designed to support schools in
delivering high-quality, cross-curricular
learning experiences – and to do so,
moreover, while acting as campaign
hubs to engage their whole school
community in recycling reward-
and-waste reduction activities that
promote responsible consumption.
These engagement campaigns seek
to demonstrate the value of perceived
“waste” as in fact a valuable resource.
This, we hope, will change public
perception in such a way as to alter
people’s choices and thereby improve
local communities. In this way, we
serve as a crucial pillar in effective
waste management.
As a not-for-profit company,
Wastebuster depends on funding to
support our national and localised
area campaigns, resources and
programmes. We can only assist
schools in areas where their local
authority is willing to work with
us and contribute funding. This
means that not every school in the
UK is currently able to access the
The future
Central and local government have
over recent years rightly invested in
new waste management infrastructure
to deal with our waste in safe and
sustainable ways. Local authorities,
however, and their waste contractors
are noticing a gradual decline in the
quality of materials presented. If this
trend continues, they both face a
level of contamination that prevents
any recycling plant from working
effectively, or at all.
We believe we can play a major role in
reversing this trend by communicating
further with both local schools and
families. This engagement can help
provide a greater understanding of
local responsibilities for preventing and
reducing waste, as well as managing it
correctly. Our ultimate goal is to have
the funding and support necessary to
work with all schools to enable our
resources to be freely accessed by
children and young people, regardless
of geographicalboundaries.
In line with
the UN’s
Goals, we are
working with
young people
to get their
voices heard
Wastebuster’s national
Plastic Challenge
campaign aims to
reduce plastic pollution
through better civic
engagement and


This article was sponsored by Wastebuster. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister