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New challenges - Grant Keenan

The introduction of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations have been transformational for Keenan Recycling.

In 2013, with the implementation of the regulations on the horizon, we geared up with a £600,000 investment in four custom designed food waste trucks. At that time we were servicing around 600 sites around the north-east of Scotland, which took us four years to build up. By mid-2014, the number of sites had risen to more than 2,000 and 10 new posts were created in the company.

Although it was logistically a very challenging time for staff, we rose to the challenge and got on with the job at hand. This amount of experience gave us confidence to look towards the central belt of the country for expansion.

We appreciated that entering a new market was going to be costly, especially when part of the strategy was to build infrastructure and growth through acquisition. Off the back of the regulations, we demonstrated significant growth in a relatively short space of time and this had caught the eye of private equity.

After long discussions with many private equity companies, we decided to go with Business Growth Fund because we felt the chemistry was right and it was aligned with our goals and aspirations.

I do not believe that private equity would have been as interested in Keenan Recycling had it not been for the regulations. Having demonstrated what could be achieved by investing off our own balance sheet in a relatively small geographical area, we were able to paint a landscape of opportunity further south. We entered the central belt market in April and already have more than 1,000 sites in the area. We have recently recruited a team of six sales people who will hit the ground running this month in order to capitalise on the imminent 5kg regulations that come into force on 1 January.

It should be noted that none of this would have been possible had it not been for the hard work and effort from both Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. It is great to see such a well thought out and holistic approach by all parties, and it is a shining example of how government, industry and the regulator can work to together to bring about a game-changing result.

Grant Keenan, managing director, Keenan Recycling

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