Q&A Thought Leader Series: Neill Ryan, CEO Greyhound Recycling

October 03, 2022
Q&A Thought Leader Series: Neill Ryan, CEO Greyhound Recycling
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October is Sustainability Month in Guaranteed Irish, proudly sponsored by Greyhound Recycling. To kick off the month, we sat down with Greyhound CEO, Neill Ryan, to discuss all things sustainability, recycling, and using technology to 'be green and keep things clean'.


Tell us about the work you do at Greyhound Recycling.

Greyhound specialises in the collection, recovery and recycling of waste. The company has a large
household business that is one of the largest in Dublin as it covers every local authority. Then there is
a commercial waste business that serves customers throughout Ireland and lastly there is a waste
management business called Ecomondis that I have explained in more detail below.

Tell us how Greyhound utilises technology to “be green and keep things clean”?

Clean and green is broken down between our customers and Greyhound. Maybe we can tackle
Greyhound first.
Our fleet uses advanced routing and logistics technology to keep our fuel usage as tight as possible.
This keeps costs and emissions down as low as we can get them. The majority of our office staff now
work remotely and we intend to keep it that way. COVID fast tracked this for us but now our staff are
happier working remotely and it saves them on countless driving trips to the office which saves on
cost and emissions.
Our data science team collate our customer and collection information and this data helps us to make
better decisions when it comes to the service they receive. We are always looking to improve by
offering value added services such as glass collections, extra green bins or maybe more frequent
collections for inner city areas where keeping the streets clean is a huge priority.
Our recycling rates are amongst the highest in the country as we avoid landfill where possible and the
waste that we collect and receive is processed using some of the best waste recovery systems and
technology in the world.
Recycling work starts at home by recycling ‘dry, clean and loose’ and we’re big advocates of this
approach. The more work a customer can do at home means higher recycling rates and more carbon
saved. Recycling can be complicated so doing the simple things well, such as, communicating clearly
about what you can and cannot recycle is important to keep customers engaged on their waste. We
use technology to communicate directly to customers like our mobile app, our customer portal, our
chatbot, our IVR, electronic customer surveys and ongoing email newsletters.

Tell us about Greyhound’s mission to propel Dublin towards a sustainable future.

Finding betters ways to recycle and repurpose the waste that our population generates is key to
sustaining our economy. This is nothing new for us. For over 40 years Greyhound Recycling has
continuously looked for ways to improve recycling rates, waste recovery and avoid landfill.
Many homes in the city center can’t take a standard sized wheelie bin, so they use plastic bags left out
on the streets without proper separation of waste. This encourages vermin and seagulls to rip open
bags looking for food, creating all sort of environmental issues for the city center population.
We firmly believe bins are the answer. We are trialing smaller caddie bins for homes and also engaging
with these communities to demonstrate how easy, clean and effective segregated bins can be. Our
project is called “bin the bag”.

Tell us about EcoMondis

Ecomondis was originally created to enhance the recovery of waste by converting it into an energy
source in the form of a solid recovered fuel known as SRF. Since then Ecomondis has grown into a
waste management company that not only controls all of Greyhound’s waste but also helps
Greyhounds customers to better manage their own waste. Some customers are interested in
enhanced ESG and their role in improving the environment and some just want to understand how to
reduce their waste costs. The interesting thing is that both are interlinked and, through partnership
with Ecomondis, both can be achieved.


What work does Greyhound Recycling do to engage with local communities?

Local communities are our eyes and ears and they let us know when things are working or how we
can improve.
Greyhound is built on our association with local communities. Dublin is a small place when you’ve
worked here for as long as we have. Our trucks collect on every street and every estate in this city. We
support many Tidy Town events with free bins and skips where they are needed. This year we have
seen them starting to reform after a few years hiatus and we’re delighted to support these amazing
initiatives where we can.
On a business front we are members of the South Dublin Chamber of Commerce as our main site is
based in Clondalkin. We regularly attend meetings with local businesses where we get the opportunity
to discuss better ways for businesses to recycle and reduce waste.

When working with less recyclable waste, how do you ensure it is disposed of in the most environmentally conscious manner?

Our industry is highly regulated and practices a great deal of transparency in how it handle waste. As
a major player, it is our duty to dispose of all waste in an environmentally conscious manner.
We work closely with government agencies, such as the EPA, to keep us aware of changes as they are
coming down the tracks. When we hand our waste over to a third party, the companies we work with
are all fully certified and compliant, so we know that this waste is moving through the system in a
regulated and environmentally conscious way.
Our commercial team offer tailored plans to help businesses better manage their waste. This helps to
give customers great insights into the waste they currently generate. Through education we help
customers improve their waste segregation that is not only better for the environment but also helps
to reduce their waste bills. In some cases we can show our customers how to turn a costed waste
stream into a revenue generating opportunity.

Why do you carry out Waste Audits? What do you learn from these and what does Greyhound do to help improve the results?

We carry out waste audits in order to understand how a company generates waste, how it disposes
of waste and to make sure it is adhering to any rules and legislation for waste management. The
purpose is to reduce the cost of disposal, remove any compliance, health and safety risks while also
increasing the companies environmental and sustainable goals.
During our visits to customer sites we check if they are adhering to best waste practice but also check
if they are in breach of any waste guidelines or legislation.
We check to see if customers are getting the best costs for each waste type or the right rebates for
valuable materials such as waste cardboard, paper, plastics, cables and metals.
We need to understand how much of each waste type there is in each waste stream. We perform a
waste characterisation study where we manually separate multiple loads of a customer waste stream,
such a mixed municipal waste (MMW) for example, and break it down into the amounts of each waste
Once we know there is too much of a certain waste type such as food or plastic in the MMW we can
make suggestions about how to reduce costs through better segregation managed through employee
education. All handled by us.

You provide Onsite Training to clients. What does this entail and what are the key benefits to a company who partakes in these training sessions?

In most cases our clients’ employees can benefit from onsite training to help companies improve their
waste segregation. MMW or black bin waste is the most expensive to dispose of so it makes sense to
only use it for things that can’t go in the green recycling bin or the brown compost/food bin. Reduction
of waste streams that are expensive to dispose of provides instant costs savings for our clients. The
ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of waste generated altogether. This takes time but that’s part
of the education service that we offer.

Back in July we saw the signing of the ‘Circular Economy Act’. Talk to us more about this and why you have been so welcoming about the new law. Who does it help and how?

This law is a step in the right direction. It outlines the rules that we all must be aware of as players in
the circular economy. Some of the laws relating to mandatory separation of commercial waste into
recyclable and non-recyclable are things that we have been helping our commercial customers with
for a few years now.
I am really interested in the separation of construction waste. Previously it all went to landfill. Getting
more value from these materials for longer will be a step in the right direction for Irelands shift to a
sustainable future. Greyhound is well placed to be a big player in this shift, with the right mix of
experience and expertise.