Waste warrior . . . Lucianne White is excited about starting her new role as Waitaki District waste minimisation officer. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

When faced with the choice between a job she was “born to do” and a job she loved, Lucianne White did not have to think for long.

From the role of manager of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail and overseer of the Waitaki Lakes camping grounds and Ahuriri Ward recreational assets, Mrs White has shuffled sideways in the Waitaki District Council recreation team.

She now has the new role of waste minimisation officer.

Her new role would absorb and expand on the job of local Enviroschools facilitator, which had recently been vacated by her sister-in-law Bron Claridge.

She would also develop and promote a waste minimisation strategy for the district, she said.

“My mum was a staunch waste minimisation warrior before her time,” Mrs White said.

“So, I’ve grown up with a lot of principles we’re coming back to today.”

Her mother had “shunned” plastic bags and carried her shopping in flax kete.

“We had a house cow and a house goat. Everything was preserved and bought bread and biscuits were unheard of.”

Mrs White’s upbringing meant she had a “natural affinity” for that way of life as an adult and she was trying to raise her children in a similar vein.

“That’s what’s really cool about this role. It’s stuff I really care about, deeply and passionately.”

She was particularly looking forward to getting stuck into the Enviroschools role, and meeting other facilitators at workshops and hui.

“Enviroschools has lots of mentors in a really strong support network across the country .. there will be lots of learning and lots of research, and taking inspiration from what other people are doing. It’s never boring .. a steep but exciting learning curve.”

The waste minimisation role was to work towards the council’s “long-term aspirational goal” to be a zero-waste district, she said.

“What’s really neat is there’s so much scope to do something really meaningful for this community.”

Mrs White was gradually transitioning out of her old role.

She had particularly loved working on the Alps 2 Ocean and it was a “bit of a heartbreak” to leave.

All three aspects of her job were “really diverse” and she had learned a lot. The opening of the new section of the cycle trail between Sailor’s Cutting and Benmore was a particular highlight.

“It was a tough call to apply for this new role, but I feel like it’s what I was born to do.”

She was looking forward to officially starting her new job, but in the meantime was trying to promote Plastic-Free July by running a “Plastic, you’re not fantastic” competition.

People were encouraged to look at one simple thing they could do that would make a difference to the environment, then take photos or a video and share their stories.

“Someone who has an idea can inspire others.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions doing it imperfectly.”