- Nov 10, 2016

On such a significant anniversary it is usually a time to pause and reflect. Not so for O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions. This fast-moving, dynamic business is riding the crest of a wave of success and has its eyes firmly set on the future.

10 year anniversary for local waste recycling provider
“Our client base boasts some of the region’s highest profile organisations, such as Gentoo, Siemens, DFDS Seaways, Sage Gateshead, SAFC & NUFC?-David Bennett Sales & Marketing Director

A recognisable regional brand, the business was originally founded 10 years ago as a part of the G O’Brien & Sons, however the waste recycling division is very much its own entity these days having been demerged from the family business in May 2015.

Now generating turnover in excess of £25 million the business, which operates with 6 material recycling facilities (MRFs) across 4 regional locations, still embraces a heritage that comes with an organisation with it’s roots firmly planted in the region for the past 40 years. Great pride is taken in the hard-working, ‘can do, will do’ energy of it’s 400+ workforce that is central to the company culture.

Green credentials

A focus on providing a high-level of customer service has been key to the rapid growth of the business. In a short time O’Brien has grown into the North East’s leading provider of waste and recycling solutions through processing many waste streams from dry mixed recycling (DMR), food/general waste to glass, metal, hazardous and WEEE waste. All is collected and then taken to one of the business’s regional MRFs where it is segregated via automated specialist equipment such as shredders, crushers, screens or sometimes even hand sorted.

Working in the waste industry O’Brien firmly believes in transparency. All waste is dealt with responsibly and with respect for the environment. In fact an industry-leading % of it is recovered for recycling with the remainder being diverted for ‘Energy from Waste’. Where possible O’Brien work with and encourage effective segregation at source. The DMR collection service is particularly popular with clients as it backed up by engagement with staff throughout client locations. This allows businesses who use O’Brien services to better segregate recyclables from general waste and save money. Regular monitoring from contract managers allows both O’Brien and the client to monitor performance and adapt the service when required.

Education is key to success

Central to the business’s drive for transparency is the provision of programmes to educate people on the importance and effectiveness of recycling. These programmes revolve around a viewing gallery located at the company’s head office in Newcastle. This is an enclosed, elevated walkway around the MRF where every aspect of the waste material sorting process can be seen. It offers visitors the opportunity to see how waste is sorted by O’Brien and understand the importance of correct recycling behaviour. This facility has proved very popular and is available to local schools, residents and businesses.

Investment & Innovation

The business continues to invest heavily in all areas. It is currently in the process of building additional MRF facilities in Teesside, and has also put over 20 new vehicles onto the road during the last year. New plant and equipment across the sites has also been added to support growing operational needs. Significant investment in people across the business through training and recruitment of expertise has been accelerated and will continue. Innovative strategies have also been developed; such as on-site facility waste management at key customer locations, as well as in-cab technology and automated waste recording data systems, which have been implemented to offer proactive solutions for a growing range of customers with more complex waste requirements.

Flexible, reliable and responsible

Since becoming a stand-alone waste business in May 2015, the company has set about putting in place a new board of directors and management team. At the helm is Managing Director Nathan O’Brien backed up by Finance Director Jon Hurford and Sales & Marketing Director David Bennett. Both Jon and David came from non-waste backgrounds, Jon from corporate finance within both Deloitte & KPMG and David from the corporate IT consultation world. Both bring with them a wealth of commercial and financial knowledge to help take the business forward.

David Bennett commented:

“I was attracted to the business for a number of reasons. One being our client base which boasts some of the region’s highest profile organisations, such as Gentoo, Siemens, DFDS Seaways, Sage Gateshead, SAFC, NUFC and Newcastle International Airport, to name just a few.

“Also our determination to deliver excellent customer service which is what all businesses expect. In our 10 years in business we have gained an enviable reputation for our reliability. We take pride in our collections being prompt, our staff professional and vehicles well presented. A recent survey yielded a 99.84% customer satisfaction rate and our customer retention is running at 99.4% this year. We achieve this through our flexible approach, we are large enough to be able to go above and beyond and yet small and agile enough to react quickly to our customers waste management needs”.

Finance Director Jon Hurford continues:

“It is a very exciting stage. Not only are we investing in the continual improvement of our business, but we are also building for the future. A great example is the new facility to support our expansion in Teesside. This new MRF will create new jobs and provide an even better level of services across the region. There are more projects in the investment pipeline which will drive the business forward again, although what is key to our future success is retaining the core principles and culture that has enabled O’Brien to get to where it is today”.

So perhaps some time for reflection after all? Managing Director Nathan O’Brien concludes:

“Ten years is a milestone, a great achievement, an opportunity to momentarily look back but also to chart the path forward. I excitably look forward to our future growth and expansion. There is a sense of strategy, ambition and pride throughout the business and I am sure the next 10 years will be even more successful”.

Call O’Brien today on 0800 169 1243 to learn more about our Waste Recycling Solutions.
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