29 December 2018 by Steve Eminton

Andy Rees receives OBE in 2019 New Year Honours

The Welsh Government’s Head of Waste Strategy, Andrew Rees, has been made an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for 2019.

And, Colin Crooks, a former pioneer of community sector recycling work in London, has received an MBE (see below for more details).

Dr Rees has received the award for services to the environment and recycling in Wales where he has championed recycling for nearly 20 years.

Andy Rees, head of waste strategy, Wales Government

An enthusiast for high levels of recycling, believing that Wales will reach a 70% level, he responded to the OBE award, with special praise for the public in Wales for “joining in with recycling”.

Dr Rees has been involved in environmental and recycling policy for the Welsh Government and predecessor roles in Wales since 2000.

He joined from the Environment Agency for Wales where he had his first major involvement with waste as a regional waste strategy and business planner.

Prior to this he worked as a water quality planner at the National Rivers Authority having gained a

BSc in geochemistry at the University of Reading and in 1983 a doctorate at Swansea University in marine geochemistry in 1983.


Mr Rees told letsrecycle.com: “I am deeply humbled and surprised to receive this OBE. I have been lucky to have been involved with a fantastic group of people over the last two decades as we have striven to improve Wales’ recycling rates.

He continued: “Most of this is down to the hard work of other colleagues, both within the Welsh Government and in our local authorities. But above all it has been the fantastic response of the people of Wales in joining in with recycling that has been the most rewarding aspect of my career.


Dr Rees helped develop Wale’s recycling blueprint plan

Over recent years he has championed high levels of recycling with an emphasis on source separation. In 2015, Dr Rees (see letsrecycle.com story) outlined the government’s current preferred collection approach for domestic waste as in Wales’ Recycling Blueprint:

·         weekly kerbside sort with 3 boxes

·         Weekly food waste with free liners

·         Use of single pass sort recovery

·         Fortnightly garden waste

·         Fortnightly residual waste or longer period

Waste facilities

This message of the need for public involvement came from Dr Rees on waste management facilities too. Back in 2006 (see letsrecycle.com story), he spoke of the need to engage with the public over new developments, saying: ” Experience suggests that the public need to be involved as early as possible so that they can be ‘joint partners’ in the process.”

Colin Crooks – MBE

An MBE has been awarded in the 2019 List to Colin Crooks, a long-time advocate and supporter of community recycling. Working primarily in London, Mr Crooks  has received the award for “Services to Disadvantaged People and the Environment in London”.

Mr Crooks is currently chief executive of the Tree Shepherd social enterprise, which says that its mission is “to create employment and transform deprived areas into thriving communities through bringing the talents of local people and local enterprises into collaborative networks”.


Previously he was involved with running the London Community Recycling Network and the London Reuse Network. He was an ambassador for the environment under former London Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2005 when he ran the GreenWorks furniture recycling charity (see letsrecycle.com story).

He founded GreenWorks in 2000 and it is thought to have been the first business to recycle office furniture “on an industrial scale”. In 12 years GreenWorks recycled and reused more than 48,000 tonnes of office furniture and equipment, while employing many people from marginalised groups, including homeless people and ex-offenders.

New Year Honours List 2019

The full 2019 New Years Honours List can be seen HERE


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