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Autocycle International team determined to make a difference

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Max Lam is drawing on years of experience in environmental consulting and land remediation works to create a tyre recycling business that is as sustainable as possible.

The Director of Autocycle International is just as committed to creating a healthy and safe work environment and culture for employees and the community.

“We want to ensure we are a people first business, from the welfare of our employees to the safety of truck drivers,” Max said at the launch of Autocycle International earlier this year. “Profits are important, but it shouldn’t be the most important thing.”

As Autocycle’s new Altona plant gears up for production, Max has assembled a team that shares his vision for a cleaner, greener tyre recycling industry.

Tim McKenzie-McHarg 

Autocycle InternationalOperations Manager, Tim McKenzie-McHarg says it was Max’s passion that drew him to the role.

“He sells a story very well,” Tim says. “His vision for the future, and what he believes Autocycle International can bring to recycling and the circular economy in Australia, is very strong.”

With six years’ experience in tyre recycling, Tim is familiar with the industry but says starting a new venture has been a learning curve.

“It comes with a lot of opportunities and new challenges, building everything from the ground up. But it also means there’s a lot to do and there’s no playbook on how to do it. We’re still figuring out how to use the machines,” he says.

COVID-19 has presented obstacles, delaying the arrival of machinery, and now a labour shortage. However, with the Altona plant being commissioned Tim is excited about the future. 

“We’re trying to lead from the front,” he says. “The equipment is state-of-the-art and we’re looking to alternative fuel sources and as much green energy as possible to run the plant. We’ll be granulating and crumbing end-of-life passenger tyres. All the products we’re developing are being reused in one way or another and we’re focusing on domestic outlets, which will also drastically decrease our carbon footprint.

“We’re trying to optimise our efficiency and minimise our impact on the environment.”

Tim says a national export ban on whole baled tyres introduced in December means there is plenty of feedstock available for Autocycle. And he believes there’s a shift within the industry to consider social outcomes and do the right thing.

“Max is leading the way,” he says. 

Bryan Costantino

Autocycle InternationalMaintenance Manager Bryan Costantino has “seen all kinds of things” working in the oil and gas sector.

He was drawn to the recycling sector as part of a soil remediation team with SOLVE and is keen to continue to make a difference.

“It feels good to come to work knowing you’re doing something good for the environment,” he says. “As a start-up, everyone at Autocycle is very conscious about doing things right the first time. I love getting out in the environment, but I think the rate we’re travelling, we’re not doing our planet any favours and I wonder what we’re leaving behind.

“It feels good to be trying to do something to put a stop to that. 

“Max is very environment focused. Once I had the interview I realised the character of the people I was working with and knew these were my sort of people.”

It’s Bryan’s role to ensure equipment works and to understand the weak points in the system and how to mitigate any problems.

He says throughout the plant’s commissioning phase he’s learning every day. While he’s keen to iron out any kinks and be in full production by August, he’s also thinking long term.

“Max’s idea is to keep moving forward and setting up businesses elsewhere. That’s when this will get interesting,” he says.

“He’s got big ideas and big hopes for the future. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

Sandra Rainer

Office Manager Sandra Rainer has been in the commercial construction game for decades. She says sustainability and Green Star ratings were gaining impetus in the construction industry but working in tyre recycling is giving her an entirely new perspective, as is working for a start-up.

“The whole process, from Max’s view on what he wants to achieve, to working for a start-up, definitely interested me,” she says. “I’ve never been involved in that side of things. It’s exciting to watch it unfold.

“I’ve always been aware and careful of waste and what I buy and the impact it has on the environment. But working with Max, he’s really taking a risk for something he believes in.

“I like his ideas. I think Autocycle is something we’re going to be proud of in the long run.”  

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