ETS to have the biggest impact ‘by far’ on sector, RiverRidge CEO says

SPECIAL REPORT: Hayley Guest sits down with Brett Ross, the chief executive of RiverRidge, to discuss some of the changes the company has seen since its acquisition last year.

Brett Ross, chief executive of RiverRidge

In 2023 Northern Irish waste management company RiverRidge was acquired by Luxembourg-based Cube Infrastructure Managers and Equitix Investment Management, marking a joint venture between “two infrastructure giants”.

RiverRidge is one of Northern Ireland’s largest waste companies, with a fleet of over 70 waste collection vehicles, a network of waste transfer stations and three materials recycling facilities across the country.

Mr Ross explained that the acquisition “allowed for a more ambitious build out of our innovative technologies, and enabled us to develop a capital backed and more defined road map for the future of the company”.

As part of these plans to develop a defined roadmap the company published its first ESG (environmental, social, and governance) report, showcasing the company’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint over the next 15 years.

The report shows that over the past decade, RiverRidge has successfully decreased the carbon cost of treating a ton of waste through various channels as well as diverting it away from landfill.

Mr Ross acknowledges the upcoming legislative changes, particularly in extended producer responsibility (EPR) and the deposit return scheme, saying that while the company welcomes adaptations to the EPR regime, it needs to be adapted to ensure the proceeds flow to the intended areas.

“ETS ismain focus for us because we feel that it’s going to have, by far and away, the biggest impact on the waste sector over the next decade


Nevertheless, he emphasised that the primary legislative focus for the company lies in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Mr Ross said: “This is the main focus for us because we feel that it’s going to have, by far and away, the biggest impact on the waste sector over the next 10 years.”

As part of the company’s plans, Mr Ross highlights that the company has made “significant investments” in anaerobic digestion.

One of these investments he explains is the company’s development of technology that will allow it to extract biomethane from household residual waste, a move that he hopes will insulate waste streams from ETS.

Additionally, Mr Ross said: “We’re working to transform plastic into a form suitable for various technologies currently being developed. There’s a substantial investment earmarked for that.”

He added that RiverRidge aims to invest in plastic recycling and chemical recycling technologies, aligning with its commitment to reducing the carbon impact of waste disposal.

Furthermore, Mr Ross remarked that the company has commenced the migration of its vehicle fleet to  compressed natural gas and electric vehicles.


As part of plans to engage with the wider community Mr Ross explains it has a collaboration in place with Northern Regional College and the Responsible Plastic Management Program to develop plastic management training courses, which will help encourage young people to consider the waste sector as a viable career path.

Since being acquired by Equitix and Cube Mr Ross has said the company has made an increased commitment to developing new technologies and meeting the challenges posed by ever changing legislation, especially that of ETS.

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