José Martín, responsible of the logistics and CRT area
“Our business model is based on recovery”
Sertego’s Transfer Centre Area manages more than 140,000 tonnes of hazardous and non-hazardous waste each year. To manage this massive volume, the company counts on Transfer Centres located across Spain, as well as a fleet of vehicles that are equipped and adapted to each type of waste. José Martín is responsible for this important technical and human logistics network, and has worked for more than 20 years to increase the ratio of waste recovered to waste eliminated. He has spent his entire professional career growing at Sertego, and continues to exude energy and enthusiasm for maintaining his company’s leadership position. A tenacious Real Madrid fan, he thinks of himself as impatient, and prefers that others talk about his qualities.
June 2017 web copy
You have dedicated your entire professional career to Sertego
Yes (he smiles). I started here, and I’m still here. I was in what was the embryo of the company in 1996, nearly since the beginning. I was a young engineer. I was hired to design and implement the control and electrical installations at the new Algeciras plant. Back then, they were building the first of their MARPOL oil waste treatment plants (waste from ships). We didn’t have a comprehensive knowledge of waste. Business was based on what you charged the boats, not on recovering and selling products. Little by little, since we didn’t know what to do with the waste, we moved on to designing and developing a service based on waste recovery, valuation, and recycling.
What was it like moving from one model to another?
It was a lot of effort, but we had a great deal of conviction, enthusiasm, and above all, support from Urbaser. So, little by little, we developed our business model and implemented our treatment processes. In 1998, as Director of that plant, we were able to perfect waste treatment. Since then, our waste treatment has progressed on to quotas that were unimaginable then. Over the course of those first years, we changed our business philosophy, establishing a model for the sector that is largely based on income generated through recovery and valuation.
What role did new company acquisitions play in this model change?
They played an important role. In 1998, we acquired RETRAOIL, which was the largest company in Spain dedicated to used oil management and fuel sale. Just after it was bought, I was made responsible for its management. We adapted and renovated the transfer centres that were only used for oil storage, and invested heavily in developing a transfer centre network: first to provide service for all automotive sector waste produced, then followed by the industrial sector in general. We went through various mergers with other companies. We grew and laid the foundation for what SERTEGO is today. At that time, I was responsible for two areas: one being MARPOL, and the other being Logistics and Transfer Centres. Finally, because of its size, I was assigned the coordination of logistics and transfer centres.
How is the area you manage structured?
We have transfer centres throughout Spain, and we have just acquired another one in Catalonia, where until now Sertego didn’t have the presence required.
Our activity is very diverse. We collect waste from all over Spain and transfer it to the best possible management facility, prioritising those belonging to the Group. We group waste, optimise transport, and take it to the most appropriate destination, with all pertinent safety guarantees and complying with the strictest environmental standards.
Indirectly, our area makes up the company’s backbone, with a commercial network that covers the entire Spanish geography, dedication to attracting small and large-scale producers, bidding on tenders, etc.
After so many years, what makes you proud?
Our ability to continuously improve. We adapt, and always try to be one step ahead of what is stipulated by law.
At a time when almost no one in Spain was recovering used oil, we were already betting on it. We have always maintained our vocation for leadership. We were ahead of legislation before the Royal Degree on Oil came out. We have been pioneers in recovery. Now, everyone is talking about it, but we have been doing it for so long, focusing our efforts on recovering the largest percentage of waste managed.
What are your goals for 2017?
We have been commissioned, apart from improving budget objectives, to increase used oil acquisition by 10%, and I am convinced we will be able to. Another strategic goal is to continue differentiating ourselves from the competition by offering additional services requested, and creating needs where there are currently only opportunities.
How do you think Sertego contributes to sustainability?
Anytime there is a production process, waste is produced. It’s inevitable. The key is what we do with this waste. Sertego’s business model is based on what I was saying before about recovering this waste and reintroducing it into the production cycle. What sets us apart from other operators is the percentage of waste that we recover. Without question, we recover more than anyone.
What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘Smart City’?
It brings to mind an ideal world where new technologies allow for a more sustainable environment. We are part of nature. It is being changed, and it knows how to adapt. We have to minimise humankind’s impact on natural processes.
Finish the follow sentence: I would like…
For Sertego to continue leading the way for industrial waste sector companies. (He smiles) That would be the best news for our environment.