Dow Waste Management

Company information

Giving the green light

In many ways, the current shape of Dow Waste Management – a family-owned and -run firm with a 40-year heritage – is all down to a fact-finding visit to Sweden in 2009 by Managing Director Sheila Dow and her brother, Marshall. The siblings were inspired by the Scandinavian approach to waste management and decided to follow their lead.

"Seeing what they did over there was a lightbulb moment for my brother and me," says Sheila. "Overnight, we realised where we wanted to go as a family business."

Since then, the company has become the first in Scotland to build a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) production facility and the first to ship processed biomass wood chip to Sweden. The company also built the first gas-to-grid anaerobic digestion plant in Scotland.

Alongside the renewable energy activity are some more prosaic business services, such as civil engineering and the renting out of bins, skips and tipper trucks.

Overall, the company’s cutting-edge approach has meant that its employees have developed new expertise and specialist knowledge and it has enabled Dow Waste Management to diversify into new markets. "It’s a virtuous circle with innovation – and Sweden! – at its heart," says Sheila.

The uncertainty created by Brexit is a real challenge to an export-focused company like this, particularly as it remains unclear when and where new regulations and legislation will come into force in areas such as the landfill tax and recycling targets.

"We rely heavily on exporting," says Sheila. "RDF is loaded from our licensed site in Grangemouth and shipped out. Bales of plastic and cardboard leave by the lorry-load to travel down south and beyond. UK exporters such as Dow need to keep a close eye on Brexit to maximise the benefits of our trading relationship with Europe while taking advantage of new opportunities that life outside the EU will bring."