May 9, 2023

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Insights

Industry Leader Insights: Celine Grant

“Investment that leads to efficiency and quality improvements will push this industry forward… Expanding your market and network will lead to growth.”

Celine Grant, Commercial Director at Re-Gen Waste sat down with TrueCircle’s CEO Rishi Stocker to discuss the challenges in the recycling industry and the actions and opportunities that we can all take to move forward.

What are the biggest challenges the industry faces today and what can be done to tackle them?

I suppose at the moment, it’s not having a crystal ball!

We all know the direction this industry is moving: there is going to be high demand for finished products above all and our industry is only going to grow. However, in the immediate future, we aren’t entirely sure how much the current economic climate will affect waste and recycling capacities.

Another challenge is keeping material flow and really good relationships consistent. Everybody has a different agenda and it’s about how we balance our customers’ different needs. We’ve spent a lot of time going around to all the outlets and asking them questions, understanding their needs and building those relationships. A major way you can keep this consistency is ensuring quality; we always like to get to the highest quality that we possibly can, because it opens up so many more doors for you.

What is your advice to MRFs across the world on the best way for them to access new offtakers if their existing offtakers have stopped taking material?

  • Be Consistent. Consistency is incredibly important in building that trust with your network. If you can stay consistent in the areas people really care about, Quality, Price and Experience, then you have a really strong base to build upon.
  • Build a Good Reputation. Some MRFs give good MRFs a bad reputation, and that needs to be taken out of the market. You need to get your brand out there and get a good reputation. We’re a family business and the first thing we said was that we need to react, not follow the pack.
  • Build Relationships. It’s definitely about building good relationships. A well invested MRF will stand up on their own against other systems. With one paper mill in particular, we’ve been trying to deal with them for years and couldn’t make it work. But all of a sudden, when COVID happened, it worked and since then we haven’t lost that. When you’ve built good relationships with customers, they won’t drop you.

How do you expect that AI technology and online trading will impact the recycling industry?

Whatever is the way forward, we will be doing it. If you look at technology now seen as standard, such as optical sorters, they have come on leaps and bounds since they first came to market and now everyone uses them. It’s important to be at the forefront of this change and develop to stay on your game. What I can say is our IT team is all over it and they’re very excited about it.

What are the key actions to unlocking recycling’s potential in the next few years?

I think it’s key to invest well to keep ahead of the curve. Investment that leads to efficiency and quality improvements will push this industry forward. We need to stay on top of following regulations and ensure free trade in the global economy is protected. Expanding your market and network will lead to growth.

We believe this is the way forward. Thank you for sharing your insights Celine, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

Thank you! All the best to you and your team.

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