TRANSPARENCY AND COLLABORATION WILL GET US THROUGH THE CRISIS
It is a tough situation, but it’s not all bad. With transparency, close dialogue and employee expertise, Åke Algotsson, one of Stena Recycling's branch managers, is guiding recycling of his customers' waste through the crisis. Although some volumes are declining, others have gone up and several new collaborative arrangements with customers have been initiated.
“As usual, we are prepared to handle materials from all types of operations. We are also prepared to take on new challenges regarding waste management and recycling issues with both new and old customers. Even in a crisis, everyone we work with can feel confident that we will be delivering as we should and are not compromising our high quality as a leading recycler.”
CHALLENGING BUT MANAGEABLE SITUATION
Åke Algotsson is the branch manager at Stena Recycling in Örebro, one of Stena Recycling’s 85 plants in Sweden. He describes the months since the beginning of the Corona crisis as challenging but definitely manageable. Locally in Örebro, the total amount of material that comes in for recycling has not decreased, but the flows have changed. At the same time, agreements with several new customers have been made in the midst of the crisis.
“Materials are streaming in from the recycling centers as an effect of so many having time to renovate and clean their garages, gardens and summer cottages. We also get a lot of packaging and other materials from construction markets for return to the circular flow. At the same time, we are proud and happy to have been entrusted to work with several new companies in the region.”
THERE ARE SIMPLE IMPROVEMENTS TO BE MADE
Åke Algotsson’s tips for companies that currently have less to do is to take the opportunity to review their waste sorting. There are often simple improvements to be made for increasing the recycling rate of their production waste, for example, and thus making their companies more sustainable.
“As an example, you can look at the combustible fraction. What really ends up there, and should it really end up there? There is always something that can be sorted for recycling instead of being incinerated. Either the customers can sort better themselves or we can do the sorting here at our plant. The goal is that there should be as little as possible after sorting to be sent to incineration and energy production.”
INDUSTRY COLLEAGUES SUPPORT EACH OTHER
Åke Algotsson mentions that right now there is a tremendous desire in the recycling industry to help out and to not take advantage of other’s difficulties.
“We have held discussions with our industry colleagues and are supporting each other. If our competitors are having problems with managing a material, we can take over, and vice versa. This is something we do as a temporary solution for the good of all. We have a socially important business and it is important that we get through the crisis and are ready to go when all industries and companies return to full operation.”
TRANSPARENCY WITH PARTNERS AND CUSTOMERS
There is also a special form of transparency during the crisis with customers and potential partners. When one of the municipalities in the Örebro district was to procure recycling services in the midst of the crisis, Åke Algotsson realised that no one could submit a tender at a good price.
“I explained that they would not be receiving any attractive tenders as the situation is right now. The reason for this is that the prices for recycled raw materials are very uncertain, which makes it difficult to set fair prices in a tender. The risk is that taxpayers could end up paying for a bad contract. The municipality decided to postpone the procurement, which is to the benefit of all concerned.
“I think that’s how we’ll all get through this period in the best possible way; with transparency and honesty, through close dialogue and sharing our knowledge. Recycling is equally important both in a crisis and in ordinary times.”
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