Exclusive: WRG targets C&I waste sector for future growth

Waste Recycling Group (WRG) is looking to significantly bolster its trade waste and recycling service offering to businesses over the coming years, as part of a major repositioning exercise.

WRG, which has historically been concentrated on landfill operations, intends to utilise its “great asset base” and build a number of mechanical biological treatment (MBT) and anaerobic digestion (AD) plants so it can add value to its business proposition as it develops its waste collection activities.

In an exclusive interview with edieWaste, WRG’s chief executive Paul Taylor spoke of the company’s intention to build up to 1.5M tonnes of treatment capacity over the next three years, mainly on operational landfill sites within the WRG portfolio.

“We have this great asset base – over 100 landfill sites, over 40 of which are still operational. These have a planning history around handling materials and we are looking to develop infrastructure on these sites for recycling and energy recovery,” he said.

While acknowledging that the C&I market is “still very much in its infancy for us”, Taylor is confident that WRG can grow its presence in the sector by offering a total waste management solution that will provide cost benefits to the customer.

“Being able to recycle and show the cost benefit is a huge motivation for commerce and industry. So if we can show to our customers that we can reduce their cost base, especially in the current economic climate, this will be valuable,” he maintained.

He added: “Our service will be based around where we have the infrastructure. We will also look to build on the trade waste collections we have in areas where we handle trade waste alongside a municipal collection contract.”

WRG currently collects around 30,000 tonnes per annum of C&I waste and while it’s a highly competitive market, Taylor is confident that his company can take advantage of what he calls “gaps in perception” between waste management companies and waste producers.

“The waste sector would say that it offers a good service to SMEs – there is clearly a gap in perception here. We are looking to identify where that difference in understanding is, so we can address it. Legislation can be complex for SMEs and we need to help them with that … we need to offer them something that meets their demands.”

WRG is owned by spanish construction giant FCC, which also owns UK municipal collection business Fosca. Both WRG and Fosca will be brought together under the FCC Environment brand later this year – an integration that Taylor sees as crucial to its future strategy.

“We will be able to handle material from its source until its end point. Fosca has a huge collection presence in the UK, on the municipal side, and we will be able to draw on that. And FCC is going through a change in itself, it is moving towards more environmental services and renewable energy, it is investing significantly in infrastructure,” Taylor explained.

And while he believes there will “always be a need for landfill”, Taylor says he realises the company needs to change as the waste management sector evolves. “Last year 60% of our business was around landfill operations – in the space of a year, that has been reduced to 50%. The growth is now coming from renewable energy and recycling services.”

Maxine Perella

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