Andrei Sofian of Rematholding Co. S.R.L. in Romania shares with us his journey to date into the world of scrap recycling
It is hard to state when my passion for scrap recycling started. I believe it has been in my blood since childhood and I know for sure that I have inherited it from my father, Mihai Sofian. Ever since I was born, he has been active in this field and I’ve always perceived him to be full of enthusiasm for his job.
When I was in high school, I used to go with him to visit scrap yards during the weekends and to see the mountains of ferrous, non-ferrous and plastic scrap. He knew every single square metre of the work sites. I did not understand much at that age, but I was fascinated by what I saw and my attention was captured especially by the machinery that transformed “garbage” into raw material for direct industry use.
The year 2010 was a decisive one for me as I made up my mind to follow my father’s path into the scrap world. I went to study at the University of Cambridge in the UK, from which I graduated with a Masters in Civil, Structures and Environmental Engineering. During my studies, I completed an internship at a recycling plant in Germany, my first serious contact with this domain.
In 2014, I decided to join Rematholding Co. S.R.L., the company founded by my father. It represents one of the largest recycling companies in Romania, with more than 500 employees and handling all types of materials such as ferrous, non-ferrous, cables, plastics, WEEE, cardboard, ELVs and catalytic converters. Rematholding opened in 2003 and now incorporates more than 15 production facilities across Romania. Moreover, it is a BIR Gold Member, a BMR member and the first Romanian company to be WEEELABEX certified.
In order to learn how to operate our business profitably with the help of experienced people, I started working at a facility situated 60 km from Bucharest. It represented a brand new Rematholding investment costing over Euro 10m – an enterprise set up with the purpose of growing the company’s plastics recycling branch. It comprised several installations for sorting municipal waste, for washing and for granulating plastics, and a plastics shredder for producing flakes. My job included various tasks such as sorting plastics, performing lab tests, and supervising the washing and granulation lines. The non-ferrous business and how to dismantle ELV and WEEE scrap opened up new areas of interest for me.
After a year, I returned to Bucharest where I received excellent training at another metals and plastics processing facility to further improve my skills. I had to supervise the cable recycling line and to increase the performance of the sink-float equipment that separated the Zorba from the shredder. The second of these assignments was much more difficult owing to the fact that the technology used sand instead of water, and so it was more challenging to study the process.
Afterwards, I joined the development and commercial department. My first undertaking was the catalytic converter business where, together with our hard-working technicians, I designed a lab and developed/constructed the necessary machinery with a view to recycling this material stream. In just a short time, we managed to become a main player in this field on the Romanian market.
Meanwhile, other projects have been successfully completed by our team, such as recovering gold and silver from electronic scrap, recovering slags and drosses, and trading primary metals.
I hugely enjoy trading ferrous and non-ferrous metals as well as plastics, negotiating with new partners and following the fluctuations on the LME. I am continually on the move as I attend conferences and exhibitions and also visit partners based both domestically and abroad. I am also very excited about the possibility of introducing new plants that will expand our company’s horizons.
I always attend the BIR Conventions with the aim of maintaining constant relationships with people from all over the world and finding business opportunities. Joining the BIR Young Traders Group offers me a chance to hear about different ideas and to build new partnerships as this organisation consists of people who are of a similar age to me and who work in the same field.
I am still at the beginning of my career and so I am still trying to accumulate as much knowledge as possible in this domain. I am happy that I have chosen this road and every single day brings unique experiences and challenges.
Andrei Sofian Rematholding Co. S.R.L., Romania