SunSkips has gone from strength to strength since managing director Mathew Stewart launched the business in 2020.
Seeing the opportunity to optimise how waste is recycled in the East Anglia area, Mathew acquired Stowmarket Skips and has since expanded the newly-branded business to cover the wider Suffolk area – with plans to expand even further.
But growing geographically isn’t Mathew’s primary idea of success, it’s how he’s leading SunSkips into the future of waste management with forward-thinking ideas about how to get the most value out of everyday rubbish.
Mathew has worked in waste management for 24 years, and since 2015 has run his own business Organic Waste Logistics, which recycles unavoidable food waste for businesses in a cost-effective, eco-friendly way. Prior to that, Mathew served in director-level positions for companies like Tamar Energy, Countrystyle Group and Waste Recycling Group.
Now, he’s bringing all his experience to bear on the environmental problems the country is facing due to poor waste management practices.
“I just wanted to get involved in an area I felt that was being underutilised and underinvested in,” said Mathew.
Under Mathew’s leadership, SunSkips had been quick to lead the way in adopting innovative methods to divert waste away from landfill.
At the new site in Cottenham, for example, the team is already sorting waste that can be used for SRF (solid recovered fuel), something he’s particularly proud of.
“Getting away from landfill is one of our primary concerns at SunSkips,” said Mathew. “We’re really proud to be sending waste to be turned into RDF (refuse-derived fuel) and SRF at both our Cottenham and Stowmarket sites.
“We’re not zero-landfill yet, but it’s a very positive step in the right direction. The waste is being put to good use as fuel, so it’s not seen as ‘dirty’ incineration anymore, it’s actually now quite valuable!”
But despite advances in waste management, there are still some very basic problems that are harder to weed out, like unaccredited workers who dump large amounts of domestic rubbish – and in some cases contribute to England’s massive problem with fly-tipping.
Mathew said, “A lot of people employ the ‘man in a van’ to just chuck it in the back and drive off with it. But unless they have a proper waste carriers’ license, it’s hard to know exactly where it’s going and if it’s even being sorted properly.
“And even then, you only have to fill out a form to get a waste carriers’ license. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have any morals about where you take it.”
Mathew is clearly very excited about the future of waste management. One thing he’s especially passionate about is innovations in waste tracking, which uses RFID (radio-frequency identification) to follow packaging like plastic bottles so its journey can be documented.
“On the sustainability side, waste management is adapting and changing in terms of the chain of custody,” he said.
“The government has started tracking waste digitally from domestic and commercial properties through its entire life cycle to make sure everything is going where it’s supposed to.
“It’s still in a very rudimentary form right now and nothing has been approved for businesses to use and develop. But as soon as it is, we’ll definitely be early adopters.”
After two and a half decades in the business, Mathew is still excited to be pushing SunSkips forward and working on the cutting edge of the waste management industry.
He added, “I just love being involved in a business that’s thriving, growing, and making a real difference.”
Learn more about Mathew’s passion for turning waste into fuel and the future of waste management on the SunSkips blog.