We sat down with Richard Burnett, Recovered Fibre Operations Manager and asked him 5 questions.
Tell us about a typical day in your role at James Cropper.
I oversee production of Recovered Fibre which is fibre processed through the reclaimed fibre plant, be that CupCycling™, offcuts from cup manufacture or other waste streams. I also keep an eye on the waste from our own paper production (broke), it is baled onsite, and then we reuse this again in papermaking.
In addition I also oversee the Effluent Dewatering Plant, which takes the wastewater from the mill, removes any fibre elements (cake) which is landspread on local farmland, and the remaining wastewater is cleaned before going back in the river downstream of the mill.
Safe to say that no two days are ever the same that’s for sure!
Once I am at the mill my day will typically begin with an update from my team, discussing performance from the processes in place over the last 24 hours. I’ll then set to work on some of the longer-term projects that we have in progress.
For any projects which involves new sources of fibre, this could include talking to suppliers or other industry stakeholders. If it’s a job that involves looking at our own processes it might involve working with our projects team and operators to improve the way in which we work.
I also get involved in industry groups to understand the environment in which we operate and interpreting how this will change in the coming years, which I find fascinating.
During your career at James Cropper, what has been your most memorable highlight?
Can I have two? The first was in 2014 when I arrived in the mill with a dirty bag of used coffee cups from a major restaurant chain. My colleagues looked at me in disgust (quite rightly) but then we got to work on how to take the cups and recycle them.
Fast forward to 2018 when the BBC came to the mill to discuss how we had successfully developed CupCycling™ - the world’s first recycling process and award-winning innovation dedicated to upcycling take-away coffee cups.
That was a proud moment!
Who do you most admire in the industry?
Those who aren’t afraid to be honest about their business and products. A particular pet hate of mine is the rampant greenwashing that we’re seeing now. I also admire those people who dust themselves down and go on to create success after setbacks, I find those people very inspirational. Which three things would you take to a desert island?
1. Phone and headphones (so I can listen to Spotify!)
2. Running shoes
3. The Mirror and the Lights book by Hilary Mantel
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Not sure it’s guilty but I love rock, garage punk and heavy metal music!