Narelle Anderson has helped to revolutionise recycling in Australia. Anderson launched Envirobank Recycling in 2010 in response to the lack of recycling in public places. The reverse vending machine technology helps to incentivise, educate and reward consumers for their good recycling habits.
As well as being an innovative entrepreneur, Anderson is a well-known speaker and mentor. The entrepreneur has had a passion for the business world since a young age and has always loved sales. It is this passion that has helped her create a successful and game changing business.
Dynamic Business sat down with Anderson to discuss what inspires her, her business and top tips for those who want to follow in her footsteps.
By chance Anderson ended up working for a waste management company called CBD Enviro Services owned by a man who wanted to get out when she wanted to get in.
“I am inspired by the recycling and sustainability sector because there are so many ways you can innovate or be the first to make a change in the industry. As a sector, we can protect our planet which, on its own, is inspiration enough. But, when you combine that with the opportunity to actively change people lives, it [becomes more of an] obsession and an inspiration every day,” says Anderson.
Anderson says you need to be a good juggler when starting up your own business.
“Juggling cash flow, operational commitments, board commitments, family commitments, and time to recharge yourself. It’s hard work and honestly, there is no silver bullet,” she says.
While it’s almost impossible to avoid hurdles, Anderson says that she is very lucky to have a great support network to help her get through the tricky times.
“The biggest hurdles are always things you can’t control. For me these have included anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviours, changes in political parties, and policy stagnation. We have experienced all of these and the only way through is to keep moving forward,” she says.
“I am also lucky to have a great support network. This is a combination of family and an amazing network of fellow entrepreneurs, and of course my team. I also have the support of trusted lawyers when road blocks pop up.
“If you’re passionate about your vision there is only one way through – and that is head down, keep going and believe in your purpose. Just go back to why you ventured on this journey in the first place.”
Anderson believes it is important as a woman that she is acknowledged as a leader because she is worthy not because she is a quota to fill.
“I know some of Australia’s most accomplished entrepreneurs who happen to be women. Women rise each other up, support each other and congratulate each other on success,” she says.
“We were built to be resourceful, smart and to endure pain – so we are by nature strong and resilient. All of this combined, makes women great leaders, in boardrooms, in politics, in classrooms, in homes.”
By 2050 more plastic than fish will inhibit the ocean by eight times and Anderson says it’s a scary reality that will affect our health and environment.
“It’s a scary reality and the health impacts for us, as well as the planet, is frightening. So, we can’t keep putting off till tomorrow what needs to be done today,” she says.
“The introduction of Container Deposit Legislation across the world and is a great start, but there is certainly more to do politically. We need to support innovation in the resource recovery sector so that we can find other ways to re-use the plastics that we as humans seem so fond of.”
Anderson’s top pitch tips:
- Figure out what you stand for. Define your company values and own them.
- Do what you love and love what you do.
- Practice what you preach. Integrity is everything.
Anderson’s best way to avoid burnout?
Time with my son, which I know will sound predictable, but he is truly the sunshine in my day. His chirpy happy nature and cuddles and laugh and funny personality keep me grounded and motivated. I know it’s against the rules, but I have been known to enjoy a school day sojourn to the movies when I just needed to watch a flick and eat popcorn with him.
Envirobankis expanding into Queensland with 47 new sites which will take the business to 52 permanent sites and 20 pop up sites across Australia.