Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) is among the fastest growing sources of recycled material in the UK. As EMR continues to invest in creating new, low carbon circular supply chains – on its path to net-zero by 2040 – finding new ways to recycle and reuse this material is essential.
As UK Commercial Manager at EMR, Dan Cronin is responsible for ensuring this happens.
“WEEE recycling brings together almost every element of EMR’s operations, from the huge shredders which separates metals, to our sophisticated separation facilities and – increasingly – EMR’s plastic recycling division, MBA Polymers UK,” says Dan.
It’s an exciting time to be inrvolved in WEEE recycling at EMR as the company invests in a new fridge recycling plant in EMR Darlaston, more than doubling the company’s UK capacity.
“As our lives have come to rely on ever more appliances and gadgets, the amount of WEEE the UK produces has grown too. This new plant is another example of EMR investing in its operations to handle this,” says Dan.
Dan’s career began with energy and engineering giant Schneider Electric, joining the company’s marketing department before he moved into the recycling industry, focusing on roles in both WEEE and compliance.
“Within a year of working in the recycling industry, I was specialising in the WEEE sector. This was even before the UK regulations on this waste stream had come into force – I've been working within this regime for a long time.”
This led to Dan having his first stint at EMR, as a Business Development Manager.
“I was with EMR for three years, working alongside a colleague who was ultimately responsible for WEEE recycling and supporting him where necessary. I was also responsible for a variety of other waste sectors including packaging and batteries and several of EMR’s key national clients.”
As Dan’s career developed, he made the decision to leave the UK, spending a decade living in Spain with his wife and young kids.
“I was living in Barcelona and designing packaging solutions for the waste sector. After we left the EU, it became harder to find work abroad and we decided to return to the UK. I approached EMR about coming back and became responsible for WEEE recycling in the UK, from a commercial point of view.”
Looking back, Dan believes his experience in Spain has given him a unique experience of how other markets manage WEEE recycling:
“Every European country has their own model for WEEE and the UK market model is unique. It is interesting to have that objective viewpoint on what we're doing.
“And it allows me to engage with regulators and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the positives and negatives about our market and where we could potentially be doing something different. Notwithstanding, the investment that is possible with our existing competitive market framework should be applauded.”
Indeed, Dan’s is now focused on finding new opportunities to improve EMR’s service, while making sure his team is ready to capitalise on them.
“My current priority is bringing the team together, facilitating an environment to assure they enjoy coming to work. It’s an incredibly challenging market right now and so ensuring EMR is a good place to work is really important.
“At the same time, I am focusing on developing our WEEE collection infrastructure and finding new ways to do things better.”
And, that’s not all.
“With the investment that’s now going into EMR Darlaston, my team and I are steadfast in making sure that we have the best fridge plant in the country, contributing to our journey to net-zero.”