Founder and Director of Recyclecollect.im Clara Isaac spoke to IslandLife earlier this year about her new kerbside recycling business. The project aims to reduce household waste and provide easier access for those who cannot always use amenity sites. Customers pay £8.65 per month and are provided with two 44-litre boxes to put all their rubbish in to be recycled.
To honour National Recycling Week 2021 - Tia Welsh caught up with Clara:
Three months on since you last spoke to IslandLife – how are the kerbside collections going?
It’s flown by! Our collections have ran so well and the business has come such a long way. We’re now actively collecting around several areas of the Island including Onchan, Santon, Ramsey, Peel, Marown and St John’s. We’re hoping to release a couple more areas in the south of the Island later this month. We’ve got some brilliant customers ready to rock and roll and support us, which we are absolutely delighted with. All of our energy we’ve put into it is paying off.
The beginning is never an easy process for any business, especially when reaching out to new customers. What has the response been like from the Manx public?
Absolutely incredible! People have been super supportive, and we’ve tried to keep the price as low as possible, as we need to be able to fund and support our staff. Our customers have been very receptive to our £3.99 collection charge which is reassuring and we want to thank each of them for their support. We’ve had a few people say that this needs to be funded by our local commissioners. I think it’s important to show what impact this is having in the community and with so many people coming onboard to say they are willing to pay for recyclecollect.im – it speaks volumes! Overall, we’ve had a really positive response, and what’s not positive about improving recycling on our Island?
Have you seen a jump in numbers since the launch?
Yes! Since we’ve started doing it we’ve had 700 people registered. While we haven’t released everyone’s area yet, we’re actively collecting for 200 people – 200 trips to the amenity site have been prevented.
Compared to the UK, recycling on the Isle of Man is a lot more challenging in terms of the behind the scene activity, such as travel and transportation. How have you approached this?
Our van is split into three compartments for different materials (paper, glass, metal etc). Our glass goes to Corlett’s which is out in Peel, and then our other materials are dropped off at the Douglas Borough Council’s facility centre in the IOM Business Park. Once we’ve completed collections, the items are dropped off at different sections and weighed. Each time we receive a receipt indicating how much recyclable waste we have delivered. We chose not to use any amenity sites as we want to complete it independently from start to finish. The team at Douglas Borough Council have shown us the process from start to end which is really satisfying. That was a big deal for me, knowing where this waste we collect would end up.
How many people carry out the collections?
At the moment it’s just me and my best friend. Collections run fortnightly, so normally we’re on the road for a short while.
Since you are doing a lot of driving around the Island is the vehicle you’re using energy efficient?
Believe it or not - it is a diesel van, not an electric van which is where we really wanted to be. We couldn’t find anything that was suitable for our purpose at the moment - the technology is just not there yet. As it takes up to four days to complete collections, we can’t afford to be stopping to re-charge and as a small start-up business we don’t have the budget to buy a hundred thousand pound electric vehicle just yet, but it is something we would look into long-term. Saying that, the van itself is very economical – relatively new, runs really well. As we can’t have an electric vehicle just yet, the next thing we are looking to do is see if we might be able to secure one via sponsorship. We’re hoping to get involved in local projects for this, to help offset and reduce the CO2 emissions our van is giving off.
With 2022 almost on the horizon what does the future look like for your business?
I’d like to be collecting in as many areas as possible and I guess my primary goal would to have the support of local parishes. I would really love for people to get on board and help fund for their area. It would be amazing to have that extra level of support and be able to provide a service that is vital for the Isle of Man.