Skip to main content

About Us

‘’Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’’ Nelson Mandela

Katy Newnham
Katy Newnham, Founder, Wastebuster

‘’When I worked as an underwater photographer, I felt privileged and humbled to witness the extraordinary underwater world of the ocean and the beautiful, sentient animals living in it. But, through this appreciation, came an overwhelming sadness, anger and frustration to see this fragile and precious world blighted by pollution and abuse from our short sightedness and greed, for short term gain. In a moment of stillness in the quiet depths, I made both an apology, and a promise. I apologised for our unjustified sense of entitlement, and I promised that I would use my life usefully. That, I would try to change, myself, and then others. That, I would educate myself, and then others. The fuel of this promise gave me the courage to knock on doors, to ask for help. Many doors.

From individuals, to charities, to NGOs to Governments, to intergovernmental organisations, to world leaders and the UN. The support I received from so many of these responsible and committed groups, amazed me, inspired me, and enabled me to bring Wastebuster to life. It also helped me believe that anything is possible. I hope that together, we can help the next generation develop the respect, compassion and connection with the natural world they might need, to feel inspired and driven to protect it, for a more sustainable future. I think young people need hope, and they will make it happen.’’

The Wastebuster Story

Entry 1

2003 - 2006

Katy witnesses the devastating effect of ocean plastic on the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea, in the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea whilst working as an underwater photographer and decides something should be done.

Katy asks for help from world class film-makers, children’s media specialists, environmental education NGOs, local authorities, businesses and philanthropists to create a film for kids to help prevent plastic pollution. A huge amount of kindness, support and generosity made it happen.

Wastebuster has landed. Captain Busta arrives on Earth to help with the mission. Katy constitutes a not-for-profit company, Wastebuster is founded.

Researchers at Surrey University and 600 young people agree Captain Busta has a special mission (and they write an important report about social norming)

Busta is invited to show his film to 58,000 young people in 230 primary schools by Surrey County Council. The result, teachers ask for lesson plans.

A website seems like a good idea.

Entry 2

2007 - 2010

Captain Busta helps children understand why they should be little Wastebusters to care for the environment and his Planet Protection Pack helps teachers tackle waste in schools.

Wastebuster and WRAP develop resources together with Busta and launch a national ‘Recycle now Schools’ campaign. More than 10,000 schools have downloaded the resources.

6 more local authorities sign up to the Wastebusting mission. 
Wastebuster education centres are made in recycling centres around the country. Visited by around 20,000 children each year, who learn why it is important to be Wastebusters.

West Sussex County Council signs up to the first Wastebuster education programme. 57,000 children are invited to join the mission and a Wastebuster education centre is created.


2011 - 2013

Captain Busta helps schools to go green and get sporty for the London 2012 Olympic Games, by exchanging unwanted textiles for new sports equipment

Surrey County Council and 11 district and borough authorities sign up for the programme. With 12 more local authorities signing up to the Wastebusting mission nationally, an additional 1000 schools are engaged in the full service and localised campaigns are delivered in each area.

Wastebuster teams up with London 2012 to deliver the national ‘Sport into Schools’ campaign to enable more schools to participate in sports by recycling.

Busta goes on a roadshow around the UK with Olympians to inspire children to go green and get sporty.

Wastebuster teams up with Eco-Schools to promote waste education to schools. Busta lands his spaceship at the national Eco-Schools conference.

Wastebuster launches a ‘Recycling Rewards’ campaign, for schools to swap unwanted waste electrical goods for science, sports and school gardening equipment.

3000+ more schools join the mission

Busta science

2014 - 2015

Captain Busta gives children a chance to help beat plastic pollution by telling world leaders their ideas and seeing their best ideas made a reality.

Wastebuster works with Plastics Europe and Bayer Material Science to hold the ‘Primary Earth Summit’ in UK Parliament, as a formal European Green Week, satellite project for the European Commission.

Wastebuster teams up with The Pod, EDF Energy’s programme for schools, the British Science Association and Middlesex University to give over 20,000 schools the chance to swap unwanted textiles for new science equipment. 2000+ schools register to take part in the campaign.

Katy Busta

2016 - 2017

Captain Busta turns waste into opportunities and resources and helps children take the message home.

Wastebuster works with international cross-sector partners to develop the Virtuous Circle project in South Africa where multi-layer food aid pouches are recycled into school desks.

Wastebuster and WRAP team up to deliver a multi-lingual ‘Home Recycling Challenge’fronted by Captain Busta and much-loved celebrities. 222 local authorities register to take part and more than 16,000 Wastebuster children get Wastebusting with their families to show pester power in action!

Busta Spaceship

2017 - 2018

Wastebuster is invited to develop waste education programmes and campaigns in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and decides to bring together multiple stakeholders to share knowledge, technology and resources to create a global platform (ESDP) to improve coordination of sustainable development education, globally.

The campaign will be delivered in partnership with WRAP and NGOs in 76 countries, representing a combined network of over 250,000 schools and 72 million young people worldwide.


Meet Captain Busta, the Storyteller

Wastebuster form relationships with local councils, regional government offices and waste and utility companies and work with businesses that would like to activate positive change as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility and CSI commitment to develop cross-sector environmental education programmes, multi-media resources and campaigns in the UK and internationally that aim to support delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Supporter logos