Chris Slijkhuis, our EERA board member and expert on plastics and waste shipments, is going into (un)retirement. EERA is proud that Chris will continue his work for EERA.
The Viennese cosmopolitan from the Netherlands looks back on an exciting time - not only in the last two years, during which he gave the plastics recycling company a completely new image. Big tasks awaited Slijkhuis and Günther Höggerl, who took over the management of MGG Polymers with him. Chris Slijkhuis is now actually looking forward to retiring on 30 April and handing over the management completely to Günther Höggerl.
Anyone who meets Chris Slijkhuis immediately notices his infectiously positive manner, which is impossible to resist. This is complemented by his infectious laugh, which immediately reinforces this impression. It is precisely this positive attitude that the native Dutchman has tried to transfer to MGG Polymers over the past two years as Managing Director, breaking completely new ground in the process. Yet he had actually already retired in 2019 and was hundreds of kilometres away from the plastics recycling plant in Kematen. Before Chris was the managing director of MGG Polymers, he had managed four companies and initiated many things at Müller-Guttenbrunn's joint venture partner, now got to know other work processes and perspectives in the family-run company in Amstetten - keyword: thinking across generations. Chris took care of quality management and the complex matter of notifications required for the transport of material to be recycled. However, he also worked in the areas of public relations and e-waste - which would eventually bring him back to MGG Polymers.
Besides his job for MGG Polymers Chris was repeatedly in Brussels on behalf of EERA, or at the corresponding committees of the United Nations. He has also travelled to countries such as Ghana, El Salvador and Kazakhstan on behalf of the UN University to lecture on E-Waste and plastics recycling.
Chris Slijkhuis and retirement - really?! The neologism (un)-retirement was definitely invented for a person like Chris Slijkhuis. "I'm a bit like Robin Hood in that respect," he once said in a personal conversation that revolved around the new simplified EU regulations on the international transport of (e-waste). "The European Circular Economy can only develop if the international rules are made so that waste such as plastics from e-waste can be easily transported to recyclers that strictly follow legal requirements. Today, it can take years before WEEE recycling companies can import raw materials - this circumstance is comparable to the wedged container ship in the Suez Canal. A circular economy, where a product is recycled at the end of its life, cannot develop in this way. But it should work - if only for future generations. It's worth fighting for!" A citizen of the world thinks beyond national borders.
So, it will be interesting to see what chapters Chris Slijkhuis will add to his life story and as said, we are proud that Chris will continue his work for EERA with focus on the review of the Waste Shipment Regulation, continuing to bring attention to Fast Track Notification concept, with the aim that materials could be shipped to compliant recyclers within Europe within a short period and under simplified procedures and last but not least the importance of sustainable thresholds for (plastics) recycling in order to secure compliant recycling, and stimulate further investments from WEEE recyclers needed to start meeting the ambitions of the European circular economy, as elaborated in the Circular Economy Action Plan CEAP. From the last report Impact of Brominated Flame Retardants on the recycling of WEEE plastics we have learned that only 20% of WEEE plastics comes to the compliant WEEE plastics recyclers. Recyclers are ready to contribute to the aim to keep materials in the loop.
For who wants to read more: https://mgg-polymers.com/news/blog/from-gardener-to-robin-hood