CEO’s Vision for the Future

Oliver Hazell, chief executive of waste management company GD Environmental, tells Karl West how he plans to double turnover, lead the South Wales market and expand beyond it.

Oliver Hazell held the cold pint glass to his mouth as the mobile phone on the bar in front of him began to buzz. It was January 2015, and the young oil and gas engineer was in Dubai, enjoying a post-work drink with a friend from the UK who was in town. The call was from an old family friend who informed Hazell that GD Environmental, the waste management company based in Newport, was up for sale.

Hazell, now chief executive of GD Environmental, is from Newport, and knew the business had a good reputation under its previous owner, James Norvill.
I got in touch to register our interest,” says the 27-year-old. “It all happened really quickly. Within a few months, I had given my notice in Dubai and left.

Along with his father, Mark Hazell, and investor Ian Lynass, former chief executive of BIS Industries, the Australian mining and metals group, they snapped up the rubbish collector and scrap recycler. Hazell senior and Lynass are both directors of GD, which provides waste collection and recycling services for commercial and domestic customers, including skip hire, blocked drains and asbestos disposal. It has 95 full-time employees and 30 to 40 agency staff, working on six sites across South Wales.

We were on site to have a look around the business by May or June and we took over GD in October 2015,” Hazell says.

The move back to South Wales may not have been planned, but Hazell says he would probably have returned home at some point: “In the grand scheme I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny. It wasn’t an urge to come back, although I thought I might come back to Wales eventually.

The young executive has taken a firm grip since returning to Newport. Under his guidance, GD has bought Fred Lloyd & Sons, a scrap metal business in Pontypool. It has also invested in new picking lines, a plastics recycling operation and has put more trucks on the road.

GD’s turnover rose 27 per cent in the first year following the takeover, and Hazell reckons it is on course to double turnover in the two years since the buyout. “It was already a great business and we’ve put some horse-power behind it,” he says. “We’ve just focused on improving the service we can offer to our customers.

Part of the growth has been down to a focus on bigger and longer contracts with factories and local councils. Hazell aims to attract trade with the breadth of GD’s offering, spanning wet and dry waste, scrap and hazardous materials disposal.

Commercial customers, particularly, like one company dealing with all their waste,” he says. “We do everything a national operator does, and customers have the added benefit of being able to pick up the phone and deal with me.

GD has an even spread of business between domestic and commercial customers. But the commercial arm is growing more quickly. Hazell believes going after bigger deals with councils and large industrial players could reap handsome rewards for GD. “There are a lot of new tenders coming out at the moment and we’d like to get into some of these longer term contracts,” he says.

Half time show, round 2: WAL v IRE

Following the success of our last halftime show, we decided it would be a great idea to take over the Principality Stadium once again, this time during the Wales versus Ireland game.

Repeating the same concept as the previous challenge, we pitted a husband and wife against one another to see who wears the trousers. The wife, Emma Phillips, was armoured in the Irish green and the husband, Matt Phillips, in the red of the Welsh.

Unlike last time, where an extra round was needed to find the victor, there was a clear winner. Victory went to Emma having scored the most points, meaning she won bragging rights over her husband. This was, once again, the opposite result of the game where Wales were triumphant over Ireland with a score of 22 – 9.

Wow… what can we say! An amazing evening, we’re so grateful to everyone at GD Environmental, it was as good if not better than our wedding day… Thank you!: Matt Phillips

GD Environmental gives a helping hand to tackle litter

Members of the Bynea Forum and a group of locals were becoming increasingly concerned about the growing amount of litter and fly tipping that was starting to build up in the area, especially Heol-Y-Bwlch which is the main road leading to our premises.

The group had already started going out on a regular basis to do litter picks collecting lighter rubbish such as, drinks cans, plastic bottles and food wrappers that had built up in the area.

Eileen Bartlett approached us to discuss her concerns about the amount of litter and fly tipping that was starting to appear in the area. She had an idea of working with us and our neighbours, Quantum, to tackle the heavier rubbish that had accumulated there that the volunteers could not clear on their own.

Obviously, we were more than happy to provide a helping hand. We decided to provide the group of volunteers with a skip for collection of the litter. This enabled the team to clear site much quicker than normal.

As well as the skip, we also sent members of our team to assist the group with clearing the litter. Lee Anson, Site Manager, joined the volunteers along with Paul Williams, Driver, and Curtis Francis, Yard Supervisor, to help fill the skip and clear the rubbish.

Once we had cleared everything that could be lifted manually, there was still heavy and filthy waste and rubbish that the group could not have lifted manually so we then got one of the boys to go back to the yard to get something to deal with the remaining waste. That’s when one of our JCB’s came roaring down the road and lifted the remaining waste with ease into the skip, clearing the area completely.

Following the joint effort between the volunteers, our neighbours and ourselves, we have invited pupils from both Casllwchwr and Bynea primary schools to have a tour of our premises. This will give them an insight into what happens to our rubbish. Hopefully inspiring them to look after the environment even more in the future.

What exactly is a CCTV Drain survey?

CCTV drain surveys are a well-established way of locating and assessing drainage problems, the causes of which are not clearly visible to the naked eye or from surface level.

Imagine, during a walk in the country, you were standing at the entrance to a live rabbit burrow idly wondering what was happening underground inside all the many passages and tunnels. Well, a CCTV survey could show you!

Our surveys can be required to delve into a wide range of different locations and scenarios, from culverts and gullies to ventilation and heating systems; we are also able to conduct work in a range of environments from mines and tunnels to oil pipe lines and wells.

When dealing specifically with drains or manholes, our award-winning team work to discover the causes, and then to assess and discuss possible solutions, for blockage problems or worrying leaks, for our many commercial customers. The fact that each of our CCTV drain surveys is fully recorded and provided on back-up DVDs is of particular value to many clients, perhaps when dealing with insurance situations.

The proven effective CCTV survey equipment we use, whether our push rod system or remote crawler investigative units, can safely penetrate deep into a drainage system without causing the substantial damage that alternative inspections, such as those needing excavation work, will almost inevitably cause.

If you believe you may have a drainage problem, it’s always better to take action quickly, as many situations become much more problematical over time. Our experienced team work across South Wales, and you can contact us on 01633 277 755 in Newport, 01554 773 324 in Llanelli or 01495 762 611 in Pontypool.

What can go in a skip?

If you are looking to hire a skip for your domestic or business construction work, it is always best to know what you can dispose of safely and legally before hiring one.

A skip is probably one the easiest ways to get rid of waste as it only has to be collected once. We would be happy to assist with our skip hiring service if you are located in South Wales.

What can go in a skip?

For legal reasons, there are rules and regulations about what can be thrown into a skip. The items that can’t be put in can often be picked up separately via other collections. The reason behind the separation of different waste is to protect the environment, however many people unfortunately don’t follow these regulations when disposing of their waste. Suitable items you can put in your skip include:

Household items such as – wood, tiles, plaster, furniture, paper and cardboard, garden waste and clothes.

Heavy materials such as – bricks, concrete, metals, pottery and clay, rubble and stones.

What can’t go in a skip?

Items which can’t be thrown into a skip are often known as hazardous; those which may cause harm to the environment or damage the health of individuals. These updates came in March 2011 and have become set in stone waste regulations.

Items which can’t be thrown into a skip include asbestos, gas cylinders, animal waste, explosives, batteries, oil of any kind, chemicals, paint and glue, televisions, laptops, phones, electrical equipment, lighting and tyres.

Although hazardous items are not permitted to be thrown away in a skip, GD Environmental offer a total waste management service, so can assist you in the disposal of both hazardous and non hazardous waste.

If you would like to hire a skip from us, please contact us. We offer a range of services including total waste management, drain unblocking, self-tipping as well as skip hire. We are a Welsh based company and offer our services to Newport, Llanelli, and Pontypool.

How does recycling work?

Recycling has been a mainstream habit for hundreds of years. The idea of taking something used and re-purposing it or giving it new life in our eco-systems is now commonplace.

From the old ‘rag and bone’ men to trendy second-hand clothing stores and futuristic bridges made from old plastic – recycling is as important for society as ever.

But how does recycling actually work?

Let’s look the plastic recycling process step by step:

Step 1:

Look out for your local recycling solution. Either a local facility or your own home bins. Your plastics will be collected by a recycling lorry to go to a facility.

Step 2:

Your plastic is sorted via a single stream system, which gathers all recyclable items together and is sorted to separate the different materials, such as glass, paper, metals, and plastic materials. This is generally automated, but may have some manual help along the way for quality control.

Since there are so many types of plastics used in Wales, all plastic materials going through sorting must be sorted by type, like PET. Not all plastic can be recycled so some of this might be transferred to another business or to landfill.

Step 3:

Plastic recyclables that have been sorted then go to an area of the recycling facility where it will be ground up into small flakes. These are then washed to get rid of any remaining gunk, packaging or labels.

Once the plastic is clean, it’s then melted into pellets that can be on-sold to create new products! Examples of things that can be made from these plastic pellets are carpets, floor tiles, motor oil, other bottles, pipes, buckets and other household goods.

With such a wide spectrum of waste management services, GD Environmental has the resources and tools to manage the waste requirements of any home or business, including modern recycling needs you can trust. We’re proudly Welsh and understand that pristine environments matter.

WAL v ENG half time show

Wales versus England. One of the most anticipated games of the RBS Six Nations, a clash of titans that was always destined to produce top-quality entertainment. With such a long history, you would struggle to compare the natural rivalry to anything else.

The Principality Stadium was transformed into an amphitheatre where both teams battled for the honour and pride of being the victors. Battle commenced by both nations passionately singing their national anthems with the English singing “God save the Queen” and the Welsh belting out “Mae hen wlad fy nhadau”.

The first half did not disappoint with both teams coming out the gates at full speed and not holding anything in reserve. When both teams went back to their changing rooms at half time Wales had the lead at 13 points to 8.

Whilst the players discussed tactics for the second half, we were tasked with entertaining the masses during the half time show. To do this, we picked one Welshman and one Englishman to compete against each other.

In order to find the victor, we placed 4 different bins and skips on the pitch, 2 wheelie bins worth one point, 1 skip worth two points and another skip worth three points. Each participant was given three opportunities to kick or throw three balls into the bins and skips to score as many points as possible. By the end of the third and final round, it was neck and neck between the two.

To settle the score, both participants were given a ball each and we told to grubber kick the ball and the closest to the try line would win. Unlike the final score of 16 – 21 to England, our Welshman, Jamie Williams was the victor having got his ball to land closest to the try line.

How Does Waste Disposal Affect the Earth?

Improper waste disposal can cause serious issues to the environment. As such, waste management and the safe disposal of waste have massive and far-reaching consequences for the environment and are of vital importance.

Non-biodegradable waste and gas production

Across the UK a great deal of waste is buried on landfill sites. These are essentially holes in the ground, which are filled with waste. They are often old quarry sites, but sometimes need to be specially dug. Some of the waste disposed in such sites will eventually rot away, decomposing and being reabsorbed into the earth. A lot of it, however, is not biodegradable and will never rot away. In addition, the decomposition process can produce some fairly noxious smells, as well as methane gas. This is an explosive gas and contributes to global warming. In addition to this, the leachate that is produced during the decomposition process can cause pollution, and poorly managed landfill sites can cause litter and attract vermin.

Other environmental issues

The incineration of waste, while avoiding the issues of landfills, can cause other hazardous environmental issues instead. Plastic generally produces toxins, like dioxins as it is burning. The gases generated by incineration can pollute the air, and can contribute to the effects that cause acid raid. In addition, the incinerators generate ash which frequently contains heavy metals, as well as other toxins.

What can be done?

That being said, if done safely and responsibly, the burning of waste can generate clean energy, which can be used instead of fossil fuels. This not only provides a viable alternative to placing waste in landfills, it actively aids the environment by furnishing a renewable energy source.

Throwing rubbish away is essentially a waste of resources, and potentially very damaging to the environment. Proper waste disposal ensures that as much as possible is recycled, protecting the environment and saving resources. As little as possible should be sent to landfills, which are very damaging to the environment. It it vital to make sure anything left over is disposed of in a manner that has the least environmental impact possible – such as safely burning the waste.

Are you looking for safe and environmentally friendly waste disposal in Wales? Here at GD Environmental we provide a total waste management solution. Get it touch today, we’re here to help…

What scrap metal can be recycled?

If you are cleaning out your shed, garage or industrial property and don’t know what to do with your metals, here are a few tips on which scrap metals can be recycled.

Almost any item which is 50% metal can be recycled. Recycled metals are soldered down to create secondary metals, meaning that new products can be made. There are no main differences between primary metals made from raw materials and secondary recycled metals, therefore selling off your old metals is highly beneficial to you and the environment.

Scrap metals are either ferrous or nonferrous.

Ferrous metals include:

  • Steel
  • Cast Iron
  • Household appliances (e.g dishwashers, microwaves, irons, ovens, fridges and freezers)
  • Vehicles (e.g cars, lorries and trucks)
  • Steel doors
  • Hardware (screws, nails, and nuts and bolts)
  • Railway tracks.

Non-ferrous metals include:

  • Copper (wiring)
  • Brass (taps and ornaments)
  • Lead roofing
  • Radiators
  • Lead batteries from vehicles
  • Aluminium (pots and pans).

Non-ferrous metals are hardly ever scrapped for recycling due to their worth, therefore are not part of the environmental crisis as disposable ferrous materials are. Recycling scrap metal means that new steel can be created without losing its primary properties and is used again for both industrial and domestic purposes.

Scrap metals can be collected from individuals, manufacturers, businesses and the government to re-use for the production of new items. Experts suggest that for every tonne of steel which is recycled, 1000 pounds of coal, 2500 pounds of iron ore and 40 pounds of limestone are saved. Protecting our rare raw materials is more crucial than ever, as they are dwindling away before our very eyes.

How can you do your bit?

If you would like to recycle your scrap metal, why not get in contact with us? We are scrap metal specialists based in Wales and we can buy your scrap metal from you. We also sell a range of recyclable commodities for low prices. If you would like to find out more, please contact us on 01633 277 755 or

How recycling helps the community

From environmentally friendly dry waste disposal through to plastic recycling, adopting a ‘green’ approach to waste management does more than just save the planet – it also has benefits for local communities in Wales.

Encouraging others

Welsh community recycling programmes raise awareness about waste recycling and encourage people to do it more diligently. This has a knock-on effect. Local schemes can start small, but as families become more interested in recycling and the environmental benefits, they tend to end up doing more to help the planet – whether that’s buying a composter, ensuring that they recycle all plastics and cardboards, reducing waste at home or finding ways to reuse items rather than automatically buying replacements.

Business opportunities

GD Environmental is one example of a ‘green’ waste management service that is helping Welsh communities to manage their waste in a more environmentally friendly way, reducing landfill and finding ways to extract energy from rubbish, such as with waste transfer stations, combined heat and power plants. Recycling brings plenty of business opportunities and the chance to create new, skilled jobs to local communities, as new life is extracted from materials which would once have simply disappeared off to landfill. From creative local start-ups that take unwanted supermarket food and divert it away from landfill to make local preserves, to entrepreneurs who take restaurant oil waste and convert it into biofuel, and even through to local craftspeople who use tipped furniture to ‘up-cycle’, restore and sell, there are opportunities for ‘green’ entrepreneurs everywhere!

Local community investment

Community waste recycling also leads to other opportunities in green energy micro-production. For example, combined heat and power plants burn rubbish and use it to power turbines that generate electricity for local use. Communities can also invest in local schemes and micro-energy schemes such as solar PV and wind turbines, in order to be energy self-sufficient, reduce greenhouse gases and obtain a financial return.

Educating the next generation

Crucially, recycling and adopting green and visible initiatives at a community level helps to educate the next generation in environmental issues and encourages their innovation and creativity to discover new solutions to tackle our waste in Wales.