Sales and marketing executive at First Option Services
First Option Services opened in Scotland in April 2010 when legislation banning the landfill of waste plasterboard came into force. Have secured licences from the Health and Safety Executive and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency(SEPA) it opened a centre at Kelty in Fife to receive waste plasterboard from customer and recycle it. The recycled plasterboard is made into several things including animal bedding and soil treatments. Here sales and marketing executive Sarah Brown tells us about the company's growth plans.
What do you do?
We receive plasterboard as a waste and recycle it 100 per cent into a new product, diverting waste to landfill.
Where did the funding come from and which organisations have supported the business?
It was self-funded from February 2010 until October that year and then we received grants from Business Gateway and Zero Waste Scotland.
What is unique about what the company does?
We process waste plasterboard and sell the product to the agricultural/horticultural industries. We also run our machines on bio diesel which is not only eco friendly but extremely cost effective.
What has been the single biggest investment?
All the plant and equipment required for the process after achieving PAS 109 accreditation from SEPA was the biggest investment.
Has there been a key moment or turning point?
Upgrading all the equipment in October 2010 after receiving grant support from Zero Waste Scotland.
What is the business plan and how does the company intend to grow?
We have a plan which covers the projected level of business in four years. The company is actually in the middle of studies on carpet recycling which would be another way to help stop putting waste to landfill.
How does the company use technology and IT?
Our accounting system is online and we also use social media such as Twitter to promote and market the company.
Who are your key customers/what are your key markets?
Our key customers are local councils, house builders and demolition companies. Exports and sales are farmers and animal bedding supply companies.
What has been the best achievement so far?
How successful our first year has been.
What has been the biggest hurdle which has been overcome?
We have found that the banks have been very unwilling with their support.
How do you interact with the wider business community?
We use Twitter and LinkedIn to converse with other companies in the recycling industry.
What will the next 12 months hold?
A further increase in our customer base and hopefully expanding the team of staff. Four members of our staff had been long term unemployed and we are putting them through relevant training courses.
Where do you want the business to be in 10 years time?
Still to be leading the way in waste plasterboard recycling.
If you were given £1 million to invest in the company how would you use it?
To increase the available throughput of the plant and equipment.
What's the best part of running a business?
The best part of running a business is knowing and having the satisfaction that it has been built from scratch and developed into a thriving business.