For a responsible recycler such as EMR, the team that ensures we meet the UK’s strict environmental protection regulations plays a pivotal role. Nancy Gray, UK Environmental and Regulatory Manager, is a key member of this team.
Having built up 12 years of experience working with her EMR colleagues to maintain high environmental standards across EMR’s UK sites, Nancy has spent the past eighteen months utilising this insight in a new role, developing and leading best-practice strategies for the whole business.
“I have shifted, from offering day-to-day support for EMR sites, to providing a more strategic and company-wide perspective. That means looking at our systems and identifying where we need to make improvements or where legislation means changes must be made.”
“We’re currently seeing changes in the classification of some of the materials we receive, particularly regarding persistent organic pollutants which are present in plastics such as those that coat some types of wires,” she says. “This plastic must be separated from other materials and removed from the recycling loop to prevent environmental damage.”
This re-categorisation means Nancy is working to update EMR’s permits and introduce a range of best-practice processes to enable EMR’s employees to identify and isolate these materials and safeguard the environment. This is just one of several high-priority projects Nancy is leading to enhance EMR’s reputation as a responsible metal recycler.
And then there is sustainability. EMR’s 'Our Decade of Action' strategy details the measures that the company will take over the next ten years on its journey to become a fully net-zero business by 2040. However, to be a leader in the circular economy, environmental protection must also be front and centre of EMR’s sustainability strategy.
Nancy is playing a key role in reviewing the environmental efficiency of our operations and identifying areas where we can seek improvement. “A key project that I am currently working on is evaluating the water consumption of each of EMR’s sites and developing protocols for how we can operate in a way which conserves water.”
Nancy is also involved in rolling out EMR’s IMS ISO certification for Environmental, Quality and Health and Safety Management across all EMR’s sites. This certification demonstrates EMR’s commitment to constantly strive for the highest standards of best practice.
Nancy’s career began helping a range of small businesses improve their recycling practices.
“Before EMR I worked for an environmental organisation called Groundwork. I worked as an Environmental Business Services Advisor, working with many small to medium sized businesses to develop and implement environmental management systems.”
EMR may be one of the UK’s leading recycling companies but it remains a family business. Nancy’s experience means she understands the importance of empowering each of EMR’s employees to enable them to fulfil their personal responsibility for protecting the environment in which they operate for future generations.
While recent developments such as ‘Our Decade of Action’ strategy highlight the huge steps EMR has already taken to become a sustainability leader, Nancy believes that EMR is at the start of a journey that will continue in the months and years ahead:
“EMR has long placed sustainable practices at the top of its priority, but there’s always going to be new technologies and more efficient ways to do things. My role is to help EMR grasp these opportunities while maintaining our high environmental protection standards”.