Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

Adam Hewitt

Recycling Lives Support International Women’s Day

Women make a huge contribution to the circular economy in operational roles, as managers, engineers, policymakers, campaigners, members of government and more. With the notable exception of Greta Thunberg, few are known to the public. Their work goes on quietly, improving the outlook for our planet. Today, International  Women’s Day, we profile some of the women of Recycling Lives. Women who are vital to the company and the delivery of its reduce, reuse and recycle mission.


Recycling Lives Support International Women’s Day feat
‘Beth Mason is Recycling Lives Operations Manager at our RLRP facility – she’s in charge of over 100 people and manages the efficient and safe recycling of metal scrap and other waste’

Recycling Lives is a leading player in the circular economy and a company that has grown rapidly since it was born from a small Preston based metal recyclers. The company operates UK wide now and has further expansion planned. Gerry Marshall, Chief Executive of the Group, provides some background to this and the role women play in the sector:

“Initiatives like International Women’s Day bring a needed focus to equality of sexes. We embrace that ethos as a company and are proud of our women employees. They add massive value to our business as operators, senior managers and just about every role we have.

As we expand into new regions and markets we’ll be taking on more employees so we expect to see a continuing shift to a more diverse workplace. All sexes, races and talents will be needed to  deliver what our customers are increasingly demanding – a trusted circular economy partner with  superb environmental, social and governance credentials.”

Expansion plans won’t phase Operations Manager, Beth Mason. Beth’s role within Recycling Lives has grown with the company. Starting out in a tendering role, she now manages over a hundred people and the efficient running of one of RL’s key facilities. A facility that contains one of the area’s largest and most advanced fragmentisers and an ever-increasing downstream sorting and separation operation.

Beth comments:

“Before I was involved in the recycling sector I started out as a graduate management trainee for a well-known supermarket chain. I used to pass the Preston RL plant every day on the way to work; I was always intrigued by all the cars being scrapped. I then heard about the great work the company does on the charity side and when a job position came up I  applied. I wanted to be challenged in a new sector but also be part of an organisation that gives back to society.

Less than 3 years since I started with RL I’m now Operations Manager for Recycling Lives  Recycling Park (RLRP). I was initially a little nervous about accepting the role as it was quite a  change from my office position. Recycling Lives saw my potential though and helped me succeed.  I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.

It’s great that man and woman alike, we all pitch in to deliver and constantly improve what we do. We go home at night knowing we’ve done a vital job and also helped on social value and the environment.” 

This can-do attitude and ability to effectively manage teams will be needed in the next few months as several of RL’s sites are upgraded through significant planned investment. This will include major capital equipment and spend on ELV operations to efficiently convert automotive shredder residue into energy, hydrogen and other useful products. This will take what’s already an efficient operation and through innovation reduce carbon footprint whilst increasing material recovery.

Now to the Recycling Lives Environmental Services part of the business. RLES handles construction and commercial wastes mainly, and over 50% of its staff are women. Amongst them are Alyson Westbrook and Katie Roxburgh, both key account managers, and in Customer Services, Alisha Miller.

Alyson has been with Recycling Lives for just under 2 years and was attracted to work with the company from a competitor due to the community good that’s behind all of Recycling Lives waste solutions.

Alyson Westbrook comments:

“I love the social value we deliver through Recycling Lives Charity and my customers love it too. I remember when I first joined RL I was so impressed that social value was integral to everything. Our sites had a positive and inclusive vibe. I saw men and women from very mixed backgrounds with a common mission. It’s as impressive now as when I first saw it.”

Katie has been with RL a little longer, and continues, “I remember when I first started, over 10  years ago, there were less women than there are today. I always feel the company has valued women, but International Women’s Day is vital as equality still needs to be highlighted in our industry. An industry which historically has employed too few women.”

Alisha has experience working with many waste partners and recycling customers. She enlarges on Katie’s sentiments. Alisha said:

“The recycling industry is getting more diverse, and women can add a different dynamic to a company. My team are all women, and we offer a great service as a team. I think sometimes we  add a touch more empathy that our customers respond well to.” 

Recycling Lives Support International Women’s Day p five
‘Recycling Lives has a wealth of talented women working across all areas of our business. They help RL deliver on its mission of integrating social value whilst helping our customers reduce, reuse and recycle.’

In addition to those examples, through working closely with Recycling Lives Charity, we improve life and work skills of women. This is realised through rehabilitation and HMP Academy programmes. One such Academy is set up at HMP Styal, a female prison in Cheshire. In fact, one of RL’s female operations staff, who came through RL Charity’s rehabilitation programme, returned to HMP Styal to work as supervisor at the Academy.

It’s through examples like this that Recycling Lives and Recycling Lives Charity add social value, improve the prospects for our environment and deliver a class-leading circular economy waste solution. This all happens in large part to the women of Recycling Lives.

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Adam Hewitt

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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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