Industry spotlight: interview with Mat Dickens, CEO at Corio Waste

Australian family owned and operated Corio Waste Management offers a broad range of commercial, government and specialised waste management services across Geelong and Melbourne. We talked to its CEO, Mat Dickens, about the current state of the business and his thoughts for the future of the sector.

How has the pandemic situation affected your business?

“Business is down a bit; we had to implement some cost reduction measures in early April with staff working a four-day week. We qualified for JobKeeper in May but there was a gap for a while there.

As around half our business is Melbourne focused, that has been hard hit, especially with school closures. Geelong has been fairly resilient.

The commercial organic volumes have been the worse – from food, accommodation and hospitality businesses which have been closed. Waste collection is a reflection of what is happening across business generally.”

Have there been areas where you’ve pivoted into new activities or grown existing services?

“Yes, we have had success in the clinical waste area in the past couple of months. Services to aged care, hospitals and high-risk sites like abattoirs, which will probably be needed for a while.

Our composting business is also going really well. In isolation there is record FOGO (food organics and garden organics) coming through the gate. It’s recession proof.”

How do you see things might change permanently for the sector?

“There will be customers that never recover, so we will look at new market segments when things open up. It is difficult to see the return of festivals and events in the next couple of years.

We are looking forward to the new Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) and the opportunities it might present. It is a good opportunity for growth in an economy that is otherwise struggling.

Likewise with the new policy on FOGO, there are still going to be opportunities to build more composting plants in regional Victoria. Hopefully those opportunities come along.”

Corio Waste Management