We are deeply saddened to lose our dear friend, mentor & colleague, Warren Snow, who passed away on Sunday morning. Our aroha goes out to Warren’s whānau who have lost a father, brother, cousin, uncle, grandfather, husband – Warren is irreplaceable & his parting leaves a big hole in many people’s lives.
Warren was our hero. He was a movement builder who started the zero waste movement in New Zealand & continued to grow the momentum for zero waste throughout his entire life. Along the way, he supported & nurtured so many people to give the best of themselves to the zero waste kaupapa. He worked tirelessly to advance zero waste because he saw zero waste as a way of delivering benefits to both communities & the planet.
Warren was smart, incisive & full of empathy. He explained complicated ideas simply & compellingly, he was clear-eyed about greenwash & corporate lobbying tactics & unafraid to call a spade a spade. He put up with a lot of pushback from vested interests, but he never sold out. He was committed to doing right by the planet & he really lived & worked by his principles.
We have enormous gratitude for the groundwork Warren undertook to imagine, create & foster the zero waste concept in Aotearoa. Due to his efforts, New Zealand was the first country in the world to adopt a national zero waste policy & Kaitāia hosted the world’s first international zero waste conference. He was a founder of many organisations that are pivotal to zero waste & circular economy advocacy today, including Zero Waste International Alliance, Envision, the New Zealand Product Stewardship Council, the Kiwi Bottle Drive (to name just a few!). Recently, we read reports about zero waste that Warren authored over 20 years ago. The parallels with zero waste & circular economy reports today are striking. Warren was ahead of his time & gifted us a whole lexicon, language & conceptual framework to talk about zero waste, and a network of organisations from which to explore and share zero waste advocacy.
On a personal level, The Rubbish Trip wouldn’t be where it was without Warren. We are grateful for the kindness, friendship & endless support he gave us from the first moment we connected with him in 2018. He mentored us into the professional roles we have today. He peer reviewed our work. He was always on the other end of a phone to listen to us vent our frustrations, or to offer advice. He was a friend – a kind man who so willingly shared his knowledge & wisdom.
Among the many things we learned from Warren, some we will remember forever.
Warren leaves a massive legacy – a true leader has fallen. We are gutted, but ever so grateful for his life, his generosity, his vision & the positive, inspirational example he set for zero waste activists in Aotearoa. Thank you to his whānau for sharing Warren with us all.
Go well, dear Warren, we’ll miss you so much. Thank you for a life well-lived x