Mike Webster, Chief Executive of WasteAid, has been voted the most influential person in the waste and resources in the UK for 2018.
The Resource Hot 100 poll is voted for by the public and lists the top 100 influencers. It illustrates the wide range of talents in the industry and the different scales, both large and small, on which progress can be made in tackling the world’s waste.
The top 10 once again featured last year’s winner Mary Creagh MP for her continued work as Chair of Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), and WasteAid Associate Margaret Bates, Professor of Sustainable Waste Management at the University of Northampton.
With the focus this year very much on plastics, it is no surprise, however, to see national treasure David Attenborough in the top 10, coming in at number two, having brought the issue of plastic waste into our living rooms with his Blue Planet II series.
Mike Webster won the top spot for his tireless work as Chief Executive of WasteAid, the waste management charity working to share low-cost waste solutions with some of the most marginalised communities in the world to allow them to turn waste into a resource and become more resilient.
Since becoming Chief Executive of WasteAid UK in 2015, Webster, along with Head of Communications Zoë Lenkiewicz (who features at number 71 on the list), has overseen an inexorable rise for the charity, culminating in the release of the ‘Making Waste Work’ toolkit for community-led waste management, compiled in conjunction with CIWM and presented at a special CIWM reception in October 2017.
Comments from Hot 100 voters reflected the huge impact WasteAid is having. One described an “inspiring, pioneering, transformational guy doing incredible work,” while another said that he has “broken the mould of what it means to be a professional waste manager in the 21st century.”
Rob Cole, Resource Media, said: “Through the delivery of small-scale, replicable techniques to increase recycling and extend the life of resources in marginalised communities and work with upstream and coastal communities to stop the flow of plastic waste into the marine environment, Webster and WasteAid UK have carried out a great service in pushing the issue of waste management in the developing world to the forefront of systemic thinking regarding waste and resources, with the need for more international development aid for resource management included in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.”
Commenting on winning the award, Webster said: “It’s such a privilege to have been nominated for the Resource Hot 100, let alone win it! Adequate waste management is a global human right and we are really heartened by the support WasteAid is gaining. Three billion people still don’t have a decent waste service with serious global consequences, as seen through the lens of marine plastic pollution.
“If you’d like to get involved, why not join us for the Walk for WasteAid on 23 June in London, where we’ll be raising money to help bridge the global recycling gap.”
The full list can be seen in Resource magazine.