Day in the life of Neil | Commercial Recycling News

Day in the life of … Neil

Over the past few months, we have been listening to your feedback and updating our site at Canford Recycling Centre, making it a safer and more pleasant place to visit.

We thought it was about time we sit down and get to know one of the men behind all the changes, so we caught up with Neil our Operations Manager.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your job?

I have been in the waste industry for around 22 years. I started off as a recycling operative and have worked my way up from there; first becoming a driver and then a machine operator. On the transport side of the industry, I became Transport Supervisor and then Assistant Transport Manager. In this job, I was managing 22 trucks and 14 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) sites. Continuing to climb the ladder, I became Assistant Manager for logistics (movement of waste) which was a similar role to my previous one.

At this stage, I decided to change career paths slightly and jumped ship over to the processing of waste rather than the transportation of it. I have been in roles similar to my one here for 9 years and joined CRSL in June last year as their Operations Manager at Canford Recycling Centre.

As Operations Manager, I basically manage the site day-to-day along with Wayne, our Site Supervisor and Shaun, our Commercial Manager.

Wayne and I will manage the site and staff working around the waste, ensuring that they are working in line with health and safety guidelines, as well as making sure that our customers have a safe and pleasant experience when they come here to tip their waste with us.

As Commercial Recycling also produces aggregates from the waste we collect, it is my job to keep an eye on the stock levels, making sure that we have enough inert, for example, to create a high level, and high-quality of aggregates to be sold on. As we produce the aggregates at our inert facility on site, we haul the materials internally, meaning that as well as visitors and staff driving around to tip and process waste, we also have men driving machinery to move the waste around, so part of my job is to keep an eye on the movements around the site so that there are no accidents.

What does a typical day look like for you?

To be honest it changes from day to day… but typically the first thing I will do when I arrive is check in with the team to make sure they are all ok and know what they need to be doing that day. I will also check all the machinery, including the picking line, to make sure it is all running smoothly.

Once I am happy that all that is sorted, I will have a catch-up with Shaun and Wayne to discuss the logistics of any waste movements, which covers ensuring we all know the plans for any waste that is coming into our site and waste that is being collected by third parties for recycling or recovery.

Between myself and Wayne, we will work with our team to ensure that all our customers are as safe as possible. Sometimes, part of my day will be spent organising contractors to come and do site maintenance.

I am currently in the process of putting safety processes in place around the site, for example, adding painted lines on the ground to create a route for visiting traffic to follow and safe pathways for customers to walk around the site safely.

What excites you most about working at AMS/CRL?

Each day brings a new challenge. It might be the same building and surroundings, and we have the same objective every day, but the challenges are always different.

I am also lucky enough to work with a brilliant team who have a wealth of knowledge in the industry. Putting their knowledge and my knowledge together and working with it always makes the day go quickly.

Have you got any interesting stories from your time working here?

Trying to nail down one story is difficult. But there is one that sticks out as a warning that people should heed.

A while ago, I started a compaction trial, I was trying to push down the waste collected in RoRos to reduce the HGVs movement. I was driving the machine at the time and using the arm to push down the waste. Little did I know that there was a 13kg gas cylinder among the rest of the waste.

The arm of the machine hit is as I was squashing down the waste, and it exploded. The waste caught fire, the windows of the machine were broken, the machine was pushed forward and I was thrown out of my seat onto the arm. Of course, the thing with fire is that it spreads, so the 2 bins next to the RoRo also caught fire and we had to work to contain it just as much as we had to work to put it out.

This story just goes to show just how dangerous gas bottles are when mixed with other waste types. So, no matter how tempting it is to throw it in with your other waste, you always need to dispose of it separately.

What makes CRL different?

Commercial Recycling is a small, family-derived business which makes a massive difference. To have a face to the business means that you feel like you are adding to someone’s legacy, not just someone’s processes and wallet.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

I would say positive, reactive and enthusiastic.

Positive because I am willing to try anything suggested. I think we should give things a go before deciding it isn’t going to work.

Enthusiastic because I am enthusiastic about everything. It is a mentality that I try to bring to work every day because a positive attitude makes everything easier to deal with. If you come in to work not wanting to know, then finding solutions is going to be difficult. If you can be enthusiastic about your tasks they can be done easily and quickly.

And finally reactive, well I have to be in the job. As I have worked my way up the ladder in my career, I have learnt to be reactive to be good at my job.

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know

Since I was a teenager, I spent Friday and Saturday nights DJing at clubs and Events.

I only stopped playing clubs a few years ago but I still have the decks all set up at home and jump on them every now and again.

If you are visiting Canford Recycling Centre and want to share any comments, or feedback feel free to contact Neil on, or call him on 01202 579579.

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