Raw materials from waste, strategic partnerships and Planet Guardians. We talked with Paweł Augustyn, President of the Management Board of ENERIS Surowce

Environmental protection is part and parcel of the sustainable development strategy of virtually every company on the market, regardless of whether it is a bank, food producer or construction company. How do companies like ENERIS, which inherently care about clean water, soil and air, perceive their role in this area? 

We look at environmental problems in a strategic manner; we build the company’s portfolio in such a way so as to comprehensively manage all waste fractions in a cost-effective manner, using the best available technologies and in an optimal way in terms of environmental goals. Today, the targets in Poland are specified by the European Green Deal, the European Industrial Strategy or the New Action Plan for Circular Economy. In order to comply in our companies across the country, we tap into the experience of Polish and foreign industry organisations. We monitor EU legislation on an ongoing basis and share our knowledge with our local partners. We also provide knowledge to our local partners in the field of recycling, waste collection and IT.

What are the biggest challenges facing Poles in the area of generation and proper management of waste?

Unfortunately, the waste management system in Poland has a lot of catching up to do, especially in terms technology and the quality of raw material. The significant imbalance between the capacity of installations and the supply of waste is one of the main reasons for the price increase. Another factor at play is the legislation, which requires us to make costly investments to meet the legal requirements. It will take about 5-7 years for the market to find its balance.

Data from the Central Statistical Office show the main environmental problems. For example, 12 million 753 thousand tonnes of municipal waste were produced in Poland in 2019, i.e. an increase from 325 kg per capita in 2018 to 332 kg in 2019. Consumption patterns are changing, so there will be more and more waste. Unfortunately, the majority is mixed waste (43% of all municipal waste), which requires highly specialised sorting facilities and and some of it will end up in landfills. At the same time, the number of active landfills is decreasing and the number of illegal waste dumps is increasing (in 2019 there were as many as 11 thousand).

Environmental concerns are undoubtedly at the core of your business model. What else would you like to distinguish ENERIS Surowce and your approach to doing business? What do you pay special attention to?  

Although it may sound lofty, the focus of our attention is on customers, their needs and a clean environment as our commitment to future generations.

Collecting waste on a daily basis or managing it in our sorting plants, modern Mechanical-Biological Processing Installations, hazardous waste incinerators or landfills is not the whole story. What makes us stand out is that we take a comprehensive approach to waste management and at the same time act as advisors designing the best solutions in every situation. Given the ever-changing legislation, restrictions imposed on producers, the increasing recovery targets that we have to meet in the face of the restrictions imposed by the European Union, we also started advising our partners in the process of designing systems for recovering raw materials. We attach great importance to partnership, operating in the PPP formula with local governments (e.g. collection of waste in Piła, or a mechanical-biological waste treatment plant and landfill site near Kraków co-owned with the intermunicipal union), we achieve synergy resulting from combining the needs of local governments, neighbouring residents and the company’s economic balance. Instead of just following trends, we also participate in blazing trails through active membership in industry organisations, such as the European Battery Recycling Association.

Moreover, in order to meet the expectations of our customers, we constantly improve our management methods. In order to be able to fully control and develop organisational, environmental and occupational safety aspects, we implement integrated systems compliant with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. However, it is the people – best specialists at each step of the way – who are the most important. We believe that knowledge and experience are indispensable to provide our services. This is why we invest in training, make sure that working conditions are good and offer an attractive social package, so that the best employees – called the Planet Guardians – stay with us for many years. Safety is of primary importance. During the epidemic, our mission is to comply with strict health and safety rules in road traffic, sorting plants or landfills and to make sure that our drivers and loaders, among others, can continuously ensure good sanitary conditions on Polish streets.

What does ENERIS plan for the coming years? What are the directions for your development? What ambitions do you want to pursue? 

The growing requirements related to recovery levels require investments in more modern and efficient installations. We are preparing to build a technological park where we will test modern waste processing installations. We will expand our facilities on the landfills we manage and we would like to purchase more of them to prolong their lifespan using our experience. We plan to increase the production and use of RDF, i.e. fuel from calorific waste which is no longer recoverable, and we will invest in modern technologies for hazardous waste management and battery recycling throughout the entire value chain. We will also develop in the area of logistics because our cars cover hundreds of thousands of kilometres every month and are essential for the implementation and improvement of the profitability of contracts. We are also continuing our efforts aimed at increasing the possibility of obtaining clean secondary raw materials, both through operational investments and educational activities with companies and local authorities through initiatives such as the Five Fractions Coalition.

  • 1043 employees with an employment contract
  • 10 companies operating dynamically in 11 provinces and over 50 municipalities
  • 3 modern mechanical-biological waste treatment plants
  • 342 thousand tonnes of mechanical-biological processing capacity 
  • 6,457 km² of the area of municipalities served in 2020, about 900,000 residents using services provided by ENERIS Surowce
  • 220 000 bins and containers, 4 300 000 bags for separate waste collection distributed to residents
  • 25 000 tonnes of municipal waste collected on average per month and about 300 000 tonnes per year
  • 7 facilities for the sorting and treatment of raw material waste, where the waste is separated for further recycling
  • 4.5 thousand tonnes of waste recovered for recycling on average per month, about 53 thousand per year
  • 3.6 thousand tonnes of batteries recycled in 2019, if put in a line, they would circle Poland 2.5 times!
  • 500 tonnes of professionally disposed of medical waste (on average per month/year), collected from 20 hospitals in Poland

Last Updated on March 23, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska