How has COVID-19 affected the recycling industry and envirocraft?

Interview with Chris Davy, the owner of UK recycling company Envirocraft.

In general how has your business been affected since the start of the pandemic until now?
Negatives – Impact on businesses’ as a whole massive, so they have had the knock on effect with Envirocraft. A main issue has been not being able to gain access to premises.

Positives – Looked at the situation and adapted work practices with advanced technology. Non contact waste documentation. Listened and understood the clients needs eg/ prices an issue for clients so have tried to keep prices as low as possible. Prioritised the most urgent waste.

Are your workers classed as key workers?
Yes, working in the Waste Sector, Envirocraft are closed as Key Workers. However in the first lockdown as a responsible employer we locked down straight away to see how the situation panned out . So I thought about the safety of the staff first as well as the safety of the client.

How have customers responded to you doing work – are they comfortable or hesitant when you’re on their property?
Most clients have been positive as the whole process was explained to the client prior to collection. Groundwork on the client done first, we didn’t just turn up at their premises. Bespoke service. Aparted process very quickly as Envirocraft have a very flexible operation. Communication throughout the company right through to the front line drivers.

What sort of physical changes have you made to your premises?
Separated internal offices. Kept 2 meter gap minimum between staff. Sanitization station at the warehouse. Educating staff in the safest way of working. Signposting throughout the warehouse. Regular Toolbox talks with the team.

Which products/services have you noticed with more demand during the pandemic?
The brokerage arm – Skip Hire – took a hit (reduction in services).

Which products/services have you noticed with less demand during the pandemic?
Ad-hoc day to day work has continued as normal. People have been able to manage budgets for ad hoc waste clearances

Since the release of the Government’s roadmap, have you noticed any change in customer behaviour (e.g. more positivity)?
More positively as clients can see some light at the end of the tunnel, so things are starting to get back to normal. A lot of our clients are restructuring so have been reluctant to put work through, but on a positive note we are still their Waste Management arm so are part of their plans moving forward. Service has been really important, we have to deliver service all the time so our service levels have not been affected by covid & lockdown.

Have you introduced any new products/services since last March – or had any new potential ideas for the future?
Yes, Waste Management Brokerage Arm to the business. We recruited during the pandemic, planning for the future. This was the final piece of the Jigsaw to give the client a final one stop solution to all of their Waste Needs.

How confident are you for the industry’s future?
There will always be waste so as long as we are giving high levels of service and providing innovation then I am very confident that we will be around for a long time to come. Technology will always need to be recycled – which is exactly why WEEE Recycling is so important.

What have you noticed about the competition in this time – have they been more proactive or reactive?
Clinical Waste companies have gone through the roof as did Skip companies. It depends on the sector. Through different stages of the pandemic the competition seems to have gone through peaks and troughs. As we offer such a varied suite of bespoke waste services then we have been less affected by the changing times.


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