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Reece Waller joined J&B Recycling as Health & Safety Officer in March 2022. He works alongside the Health & Safety Manager to implement and maintain health & safety measures across the organisation’s four sites across the North East of England.
Reece, age 31, from Hartlepool, completed his education at Hartlepool College, where he studied plumbing. After completing a 12-month work experience program with a local business, Reece realised plumbing wasn’t quite for him. Instead, he found his feet with TMD Friction, where he worked for 11-years prior to joining J&B Recycling.
At TMD Friction, Reece was able to experience various roles. He progressed through the company and was eventually put forward for a role within the health & safety team by the Health & Safety Manager at the beginning of lockdown in 2020.
Reece says, “Looking back, I really enjoyed studying health and safety at college, but I hadn’t considered a career in it until I became part of the ‘Say No to Risk’ team at TMD Friction.
“The Health and Safety Manager was really encouraging and gave me the opportunity to complete a number of online training courses, including an IOSH qualification.”
Reece felt that he had really found his niche, so when the role of Health & Safety Officer came up at J&B Recycling, he felt it was time to move on to a new challenge. He says: “I identified J&B Recycling as a company I could continue to further my career with. It is a well-known local business and their journey of growth had been well-documented in the local media, so I thought it was a good ‘next step’ to develop my career.”
It has been a positive move for Reece. He says: “I really love coming to work. Everyone is so lovely. Michael [the Health & Safety Manager] is a fantastic mentor. He stands up for what he believes in to maintain the highest standards, but is also friendly and approachable. What he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. Even the Managing Director and Operations Director take the time to speak to everyone. They are genuinely interested in what we do both inside and outside work. It is just a lovely place to work!
“Professionally I have gained lots of experience. There are some similarities to my previous role, but overall, it is very different. There are lots of new challenges, such as the amount of mobile plant equipment and the challenge posed by unknown items/substances coming onsite in people’s waste.
“There are already a lot of health & safety measures in place, but there is always something new. For example, when disposable vapes suddenly started getting popular, we saw a significant increase in small fires and had to help research the cause and put measures in place to mitigate the risk. Every day is different, which I love.”
Like many of the team at J&B Recycling, Reece has developed a bit of a passion for recycling. He says: “The recycling process absolutely fascinates me. I didn’t really think of it at all before, but once I started learning about the process and I could see the positive impact it can have on the planet, I’ve started taking it more seriously.
“At home we used to put everything in the green [general waste] bin, but now we recycle whatever we can. I get frustrated at the number of labels that say you can recycle something, but I know from working at J&B that you can’t – well not in your recycling bin at home.
“I also love finding out how the process works. I couldn’t believe that a laser can tell the difference between different materials like paper, cardboard and plastic – and that a puff of air can separate different materials. It really blows my mind sometimes.
“Then there are the good vibes you get, knowing that you are doing your bit to help save the planet. It might sound a bit cliché, but it does make coming into work even more worthwhile.”
Outside of work, Reece spends most of his spare time with his family. He lives with his partner, and they have a daughter aged 8 and a son aged 4. Reece admits he is probably more proactive about educating his children about recycling and the environment than he would be if he didn’t work in the industry.
He says: “I think it is great that my kids have a good idea about recycling and that they think about the environment. Some of the things you read about in the media, like climate change, could have a real impact on them in the future, so it is important that they are aware of the small steps they can take to make a difference. If I didn’t work at J&B Recycling, I’m not sure I would have really thought about it.”
At J&B Recycling, we prioritise the well-being and safety of our team members and visitors above all else. We have invested significantly in technology to enhance health & safety at our sites across the North East of England and hold ISO 45001 demonstrating our unwavering commitment to maintaining a secure and hazard-free working environment. We look forward to seeing the positive impact that Reece will bring to our team in the coming years.
If you would like to find out more about working at J&B Recycling and the current vacancies available, please click here.