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‘It’s all about relationships’

Recycling International regularly spotlights individual scrap traders from around the globe. Here we give the floor to Rom Patel, senior trader at e-scrap recycler Igneo.

THE MARKET

‘Never a dull moment in electronics recycling, I would say. There are so many developments affecting WEEE and our industry. Energy prices, freight and compliance are some of the biggest current factors. Also, look at what’s happening with reuse & repair. My mobile provider upgraded my phone, which occurs every two years, to the iPhone 14 in the UK so my old iPhone get recycled. But on a recent trip to South Africa my taxi driver was very happy with his refurbished iPhone 6 which he runs his business on and he’s probably not the only one.’

THE COMPANY

‘At Igneo, we’re busy rolling out big plans. The recent majority investment agreement with precious and non-ferrous metals smelter Korea Zinc will further boost our global growth strategy with rapid expansion in both furnace capacity and collection infrastructure. In the US, as well as in Europe and beyond.’

THE IMPACT OF COVID

‘Scrap trade is all about relationships. Not being able to meet people face to face was quite frustrating for all of us. At the same time, for me personally, the pandemic offered opportunities. I got many calls from potential customers: “Hey Rom, help us out, we’re looking for business, what can you do for us?” So it’s definitely a challenging time but certainly not only bad news.’

FREQUENT FLYER

‘One trip every two weeks on average. October was a bit of an exception, with 12 flights in four weeks to Finland, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Czech Republic, South Africa and then finally Dubai for the BIR show. Living in London, LME Week for me was a home game, luckily. I really enjoy travelling for work but it’s also great to come home after a trip and watch my son playing football and hear my daughter play the piano.’

FAVOURITE HOTEL

‘The Mira Hotel in Hong Kong. It has an indoor pool which plays music under the water and a nice terrace next door with pubs and restaurants. Great service and the good thing is the staff know their guests by name. They pay true attention: “Hello Mr. Patel, welcome back.” Great hospitality when travelling!’

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MY JOB

‘Travelling globally and building great relationships, knowing I’m making a difference through urban mining. What’s more, in this job you’re not on the tourist track. You get the chance to see different places and learn from the local cultures.’

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