Helping others help the planet

From talking solid waste with municipalities and organizations to helping these entities improve their recycling communications and more, you’ll find Business Development Representative Phillip Hunter on the front lines at ReCollect.    

“There are amazing people in this industry doing amazing things in all corners of North America,” Phillip said.

And with years of experience working in solid waste and recycling under his belt, he enjoys talking with and helping them all.

Phillip’s interest in the industry took hold some years ago. When he moved from Comox, Vancouver Island, to a large city to attend university, he was surprised to see his new city was a bit behind when it came to recycling and waste diversion. It was shocking for him to see such a large, booming city invest so little into sustainability, he said. The city has since changed and improved greatly, he said, but it did not make his experience there any less impactful.

While attending the University of Calgary and Royal Roads University, Phillip dipped his toes into the solid waste and recycling field, working and volunteering with several organizations involved with waste diversion, including Green Calgary, The City of Calgary, The Recycling Council of Alberta, and Green Events Services.

Experiences outside of his work, such as backpacking through South America during this time, also gave him a unique perspective toward North American lifestyles, he said.

Later, he worked for a waste hauler that focused on recycling, food waste, and processing food waste into compost.

“It was a job that really matched my beliefs, as healthy soil will help heal our planet,” he said. “I also learned a ton about waste hauling, customer communication, and contamination.”

But Phillip noticed some missing links between what residents and employees needed to know, and the ways in which that information could be conveniently passed to them. While hiring collections drivers, for instance, Phillip wanted to find safe drivers who were dependable workers — not people who could recite recycling rules and waste stream information.

That “shouldn’t be a job requirement,” Phillip said. “The Waste Wizard would have been great support for the employees,” he said. The digital tool would have helped employees find the information they needed whenever they needed it, while allowing them to focus more on the skills that mattered most.   

A notification system, such as that which the Collection Calendar provides, would have come in handy, too. For example, “when the catalytic converters got stolen from two trucks and two routes were not completed, it would have been nice to have an efficient method to message the customers affected and explain why we were late.”

Experiences such as these showed Phillip the value of digital recycling communication  tools, he said, which led him to apply for an open position when the opportunity arose.

“Because I have worked through this pain before, it is rewarding to chat (with) haulers or waste professionals who are experiencing it, and I love that we have solutions for them,” he said.     

His experience and knowledge in solid waste and recycling and his passion for the environment yield genuine conversations, Phillip said, which he hopes makes for unique and helpful customer experiences. 

When he isn’t helping customers, he’s working behind-the-scenes with ReCollect’s sales and marketing teams, developing content, and more.

Outside of work, Phillip enjoys spending time with his cat, Mr. Handsome Pants (affectionately known as HP), playing guitar, riding his bike, hanging out with friends, trying all the craft beer, playing tennis, and when we aren’t in the middle of a global pandemic, playing hockey.

He cares deeply about sustainability and being a good steward of the earth, even when he is off the clock. In many ways, Phillip’s role with ReCollect helps him as much as it helps others. Talking to waste and recycling professionals across North America is one of his favorite parts about his job.  

“I love learning about what is going on in different corners of this continent,” he said.

3 Fast Facts about Phillip

Favourite music: I have an ever-increasing vinyl collection. My musical tastes are all over the place, from John Coltrane to Tool. My recent discovery is a guy named William Tyler, who makes instrumental music with a country/ambient vibe. It’s good background music when I am hard at work!

What gets you through a hard day at work? My co-workers and the very supportive team environment we have here at ReCollect.

If you had superpowers, what would they be? The superpower I do have is the ability to make pens and guitar picks disappear. One minute they’re in my hand, then they’re gone. The superpower I would like to have is the ability to heal Mother Earth’s coral reefs and old-growth forests. 

**Since the writing of this blog, Phillip has been promoted to the position of Waste Solutions Manager at ReCollect!