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WRA anniversary: raising a glass to female recycling leaders

An organisation to boost the role of women in the recycling industry is reporting substantial progress one year after being founded.

Leaders of Women’s Recycling Alliance (WRA) say it has grown substantially from a UK launch in June 2018 with members joining from Britain, Ireland, Switzerland and elsewhere.The initiative was the brainchild of Sarah Sanpher-McDowell, development director at Clearpoint Recycling, which helped establish the group.

WRA aims to help:

  • empower women who work in waste
  • provide a platform to discuss challenges in the industry
  • develop confidence and leadership skills.

Sanpher-McDowell says: ‘I set up the WRA in June 2018 with the aim of connecting like-minded women throughout the waste and recycling industry.  I, personally, have only ever had positive experiences working in the sector but we can’t get away from the fact that there is a gender imbalance in this field.’

Personal and professional development is a key strand to the WRA’s ethos, adds Sanpher-McDowell. ‘We’re passionate about helping delegates to reach their potential both in and out of the workplace.’

To celebrate the first group’s first birthday, more than 30 professionals from recycling companies, manufacturers, the public sector, exporters and re-processors met in Birmingham.

Sanpher-McDowell concludes: “It’s been an amazing year and in 2020 we’re looking to evolve the membership and sponsorship side of the WRA, to further grow our existing group, continue delivering insightful events, and become the go-to networking hub for women throughout the industry.’

The team of All Women Recycling, a women-run Cape-based business providing sustainable and profitable business solutions for unemployed women across the southern suburbs community. The group was able to divert over half a million bottles from landfills in 2016.

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