The GloucestershireLive Family Business of the Year 2022 was won by Printwaste Recycling & Shredding.
The business stood out to the judges as they are set to achieve net zero in 2028, well ahead of national targets, and have also become recognised within the industry as a standard-setting organisation in their field. They actively achieve buy-in and engagement at every level of the business to maximise recycling activities, making them a relevant, credible, and much-needed business for the local economy.
Who are Printwaste?
- Printwaste is a two-generation, family-run business, launched by brothers Geof & Don Robins in 1983, supported by four of the succeeding generation who will ultimately assume responsibility.
- They provide environmentally conscious recycling, waste management, and confidential shredding, with three depots across Gloucestershire and South Wales.
- Annual turnover of £8 million in 2021, with an 83-strong team and over 3,000 customers.
- In 2021, the business handled 32,749.46 tonnes of material, with 99.7% being diverted from landfill through recycling (90.8%) and recovery (10.14%) including common recyclables and complex materials such as polystyrene, branded products and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
- March 2022 saw the business achieve £1million turnover in a single month setting them on track to exceed their £11million target for 2022.
The ultimate family-success story
With active succession planning for four next generation cousins, Printwaste offer a credible example of sustained growth through family leadership, providing an environment for personal and professional development. Printwaste provide focussed investment in every member of staff, including specialist industry qualifications and Leadership and Management qualifications. Staff retention is commonly many years and recruitment referrals are encouraged from existing employees. The business is viewed by their staff as an inclusive, progressive, family-oriented business, something that the leadership team seek to retain and build on in the future.
Adapting during the pandemic primed the business for growth
COVID reduced Printwaste’s incoming waste streams by 30%, due to the temporary closure of offices and high street retailer clients, both of which are high-volume waste and recycling producers. Printwaste identified new revenue opportunities, securing work with hospitals and care homes; additional work from councils dealing with increased waste volumes due to home working; and the introduction of a Gloucestershire domestic garden waste service. Existing vehicles were also converted to temporarily meet local haulage and transport shortages, securing driver jobs. This meant Printwaste retained 100% of its employees beyond the pandemic.
This innovation and investment through the pandemic primed them for growth and the business went on to deliver its most successful twelve months post-pandemic. Home working accelerated the production of plastic waste, prompting Printwaste to work with councils to secure sustainable outlets for onward processing. This service is in high-demand as councils and businesses seek to meet their ESG targets.
Award-winning strategy: identifying unique and environment-first recycling methods
Last year Printwaste was one of nine companies to achieve the highest awarded grade (4*) at the Zero Waste Awards, recognising their efforts in supporting customers to zero-to-landfill. They were also recognised as Paper Recycling Business of the Year 2022, selecting Printwaste as a business performing at high excellence, ahead of other industry peers.
Their resourceful recycling approach provides a competitive edge, which attracts new customers as well as innovating unique approaches to recycling common materials. For example, Printwaste innovated a circular solution for polystyrene, enabling recycling as a credible alternative to landfill or incineration.
2022 saw the business open its first waste management depot in Wales, developing existing and new work regionally. Strategically the new depot underpins their commitment to carbon reduction through localisation, reducing unnecessary transport mileage for collections and onward processing.