Challenge: Sustaining a recycling business over three generations
Solution: Changing the way the recycling business is done
What goes around, comes around is a philosophy that’s good for the environment and good for business. Hebert’s Recycling, a third-generation family-owned and operated business headquartered in Miramichi, understands the impact of this approach firsthand.
Growth has defined the company since it opened its doors in the 1950s when it started as a collection depot. Today Hebert’s operates three processing plants in Atlantic Canada and has 55 employees. Owner and CEO Kevin Sargent started with the company in 1992 when the company was picking up beverage containers and delivering them to processors. “Then the opportunity grew to include transportation, processing, purchasing, and sales,” says Kevin.
Today the company continues to act on opportunities. Earlier this year it opened a new recycling plant in Mount Pearl, NL – and changed the way containers are collected, baled, and processed in the province. The new process, which has led to the creation of six new jobs, enables Hebert’s to process 78 million plastic containers annually and sell them to global companies that specialize in manufacturing rigid and flexible packaging for the pharmaceutical, medical device, food, and beverage markets.
Through the use of state-of-the-art equipment that includes conveyors, electro-magnetic technology, granulators, and air-powered sorting systems, the Newfoundland and Labrador plant removes impurities and contamination and then grinds the plastic into “flake.” The plant generates material at 99.1% purity, which attracts better prices in post-consumer commodities markets.
“Staying up to date is important to moving forward,” says Sargent. “To be a good entrepreneur, you need to look ahead.”
He stresses that quality of customer service is as important as product quality. “You do your research. You find your purchasers and make [solid] relationships. We’ve made a lot of good connections.”
His advice for new entrepreneurs: be prepared to put in long hours. “Don’t accept less than the best,” says Sargent. “This is a commitment. You’re never really off the job.”
Accessing financial capital is something the Government of Canada recognizes as critical to building, growing and scaling a business. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Hebert’s Recycling Inc. to seize new opportunities. A recent investment of over $200,000 enabled the company to expand its operation to include Polyethylene Terephtalate (PET) grinding capabilities, in order to accommodate a recently awarded contract with the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) for the processing of used beverage containers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hebert’s Recycling Inc. is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
Do you have a business concept? Do you have an innovative idea to improve or grow your business? For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to canada.ca/acoa.