Life as a Plastic Buyer

Having worked in the waste industry for over 15 years, I have run my share of sites and Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs). But being out there on the road as a plastic buyer, you get to meet new people, visit new sites and see all the different ways people do things.

No site is ever the same, they all have different ways of doing the same things; some ways may be better than others, but it’s up to us as plastic buyers to steer them in the right direction. If we can help them to get their stock moved on for the right price, then we’ve done our job. This role isn’t just about buying the plastic, but to help our suppliers handle their waste in the best way to get them the most value for it.

I enjoy driving out to visit all my clients and they are always as pleased to see me as I am them. We will chat about the industry, the way things are going, we’ll talk about our families and have a good laugh over a cup of coffee.

I always like to make time for my suppliers as they are making the time for me in the middle of their busy day. A lot of my customers in this industry have become very close friends over the years. We don’t just talk shop, we talk about our personal and family lives and all sorts of thing; as you build these relationships, you are building trust with your clients. 

When I visit a potential client’s site for the first time, I always make sure I am polite and go in with a friendly approach; this goes a long way with people. Don’t underestimate the importance of always being yourself; never go in and over promise on things you can’t deliver, as they will remember this in the future and it will hurt your chances of building a relationship – which is what you’re there to do.

Don’t think of this job as being just about buying plastic; have the mindset that you are there to build relationships. This approach has served me very well over the years. When it comes down to it people sell to people, not to companies; if your clients like you and feel at ease with you, they will sell to you.

Being personable when with your suppliers will serve you well. Talk to your clients about how things are going and ask questions about what you see when looking around their site. No question is a silly question when you’re still learning, and clients are usually happy to answer.

You can never take too many photos, so take plenty of pictures of all the stock you see on site; ask questions about the stock you see as well, e.g., what industry it has come from, or if they have a regular supply of the material. Once I’ve left a site, I’ll upload all of the photos to the company’s cloud storage so the sales team can offer the materials to our outlets. Once they get the prices back that’s when we really go to work!

At this point we can then take the offer price to the client and hopefully come to an agreement. There is no better feeling than closing on a deal for a load of plastic, and it makes you hungry to go out and get the next one!

Once we’ve shaken hands, I’ll send the paperwork to the office so they can complete their piece of the puzzle. The office will prepare the purchase order and get it sent to the client with the agreed prices and loading weights, and will then book the haulage to transport the load to the end user.

As the buyer, we attend the loadings to make sure it all goes to plan, ensuring that the right material is being loaded and the paperwork is all filled out correctly. This part is just as important as buying the load.

If you are looking at this role potentially as a career then as well as helping to keep thousands of tonnes of plastic out of landfill every year, you will meet lots of new people and many will become close friends. Just be yourself and this job can be very rewarding.

Follow us to stay up to date on our latest news

If you would like to receive our newsletter to keep up to date with Let’s Recycle It news and to receive marketing information regarding our services, please let us know:

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please check the required field.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.