Chief enabler steps up to the Xtreme Zero Waste plate

Xtreme Zero Waste’s new general manager core business Dallas Butler describes his role as enabling the organisation to push ahead in new directions.

Spring boarding off Xtreme’s solid foundation in the social enterprise arena, Dallas hopes to inject some professionalism and efficiency into the not-for-profit organisation

“I want to lift our game…all the ingredients are here.”

Lifting the game will mean lobbying local and national politicians, businesses and funders to take note of what Xtreme is doing in a space that is making a difference to climate change. Dallas says he’s well up for the game.

Dressed comfortably in his XZW hoodie, he laughs, “I enjoy putting on a shirt and advocating  our space to the politicians and businesses when needed.”

As Xtreme’s ‘chief enabler’, Dallas believes that increased professionalism and efficiency will have a flow on affect, supporting the organisation as it innovates and adapts to the changing political and environmental landscape.

And change is afoot with the wood yard being developed into a community shed space, with the potential to provide upcycling and mending workshops, and an onsite community tool library.

There’s also plans in place for an education building behind the main office which will provide a space for learning as well as a community meeting space.

As the new general manager for core business, and strong supporter of innovation, Dallas can take the core business load off Rick Thorpe and Cheryl Reynolds as they forge ahead with new innovation projects.

He knows that all these and future projects will require dollars, something Xtreme doesn’t have a lot of as a not-for-profit working towards a circular economy model. Dallas says they often start out on the back foot financially.

“The community might think we are doing really well here; they may not understand our costs. We are not profitable and we reinvest what we do make back into developing the organisation and our people.”

Investments like the food waste collection that had buy in from Waikato District Council and the Ministry for the Environment.

Despite WDC’s  2018-24 Waste Minimisation and Management Plan proposed vision to make zero waste and resource recovery an integral part of the community, they withdrew critical food waste funding after a poorly worded survey found that people loved the idea but didn’t want to pay a targeted rate for the service.

Xtreme is now looking to fund raise $120,000 including $30,000 through crowdfunding platform Give-a-little for the food waste service, and Dallas says they are determined to keep it going.

“It doesn’t make sense to start, and stop and start the service again.”

He started the role over a month ago now and has spent the time listening, observing and having conversations with the XZW team. He’s enjoyed looking out at the action from his office and seeing how the place operates.

“I’m the new guy here and I’m just getting an understanding of how the staff go about their day-to-day business. I’ll be looking at how I can make their job easier. If I’ve got happy people working here, I’m winning,” he says.

Moving from a recent corporate role within the construction industry in Auckland, Dallas was looking for a role to feed his soul.

He’d had enough of bottom financial lines being the core drivers of business and liked what he saw at Xtreme.

And, he says, Xtreme offers that in bucketloads. With zero waste, environmental impact, job creation and circular economies at the core of Xtreme’s business, the new job is providing Dallas with many bottom lines to manage, develop and grow.

Describing himself as a ‘father on his own’, Dallas has made the move with his 15-year-old son Jahli who has joined him after completing the school term at Auckland and starts at Raglan Area School next term.

“I was pretty lucky to find a place to rent. I took it without having seen it,” he says.

Raglan feels more like home, from Raukokore – Waihau Bay originally, Auckland was never going to be home for the East Coast boy.

“Auckland was so far removed from my roots and upbringing.”

And it helps that Whaingaroa offers all the activities that he loves – surfing, diving, fishing, hunting and as he says, just getting out in the natural environment.

He took a  seven months off from his last role before he made the decision to go for the job at Xtreme.  Spending the time and investing  in his son was invaluable.

“I was a professional pain in the arse to my son, apparently,” he laughs.

Visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/lets-do-this-raglan to keep diverting household food waste from the landfill.

Janine Jackson