Obituary: Mathew Major, WMR Waste Solutions

Mathew Major has passed away at the age 65, following a courageous battle with oesophageal cancer.

Mathew Major spent 47 years in the recycling industry

Mathew spent over 47 years in the recycling industry, starting life working with Jim and Edgar Pearce, at what was then called E Pearce & Sons, now Pearce Recycling, in St Albans, Herts, in 1974. In those days, Pearce’s was part of the Maybank Group, then owned by waste paper legend Jimmy Maybank, before the group was wholly bought out by Reed International.

When Mathew was spotted by then CEO of Maybank, Gordon Ranger, his career took off, and the following years saw him working in various roles in Milton Keynes, Guernsey, Newhaven, and finally Oxford, where he became the youngest General Manager in the Redd Group at 28, before leaving the Group to start his own business in Brighton in 1990.

After collecting some hospital records at his recycling centre in Oxford, Mathew hit upon the idea of starting a document shredding company, which he decided to open in Brighton, a place that became his home for the next 32 years.

Secure Office Shredding finally opened in 1991, and was then, one of only a handful of shredding companies in the country. Never one to do things by halves, Mathew helped to form an early industry association called NAID UK, along with Simon Pearce of Pearce Recycling, Lloyd Williams of Shredall SDS, Nick Franklin Confidential Shredding Norwich, and Anthony Pearlgood.

Determined to put standards into this new industry, Mathew was asked by the BSIA (British Standard Industry Association) to turn his code of practice into a new British Standard on shredding, BS 8470, which he then re-wrote into a European Standard, ISO 15713 a year later. For this, he was awarded BSIA Chairman’s Award in 2012, for his ‘outstanding contribution to standards’.

After nearly 9 years in document shredding, Mathew joined Nordic Recycling in Rochester, Kent, as sales Director, in January 1999.There he started a new shredding and archive storage business, Papersafe UK, then 2 years later, a waste brokerage business, successfully winning several large accounts, such as the BBC, IBM UK, Goldman Sachs and Land Securities.

Having enjoyed the taste of the waste business, it was probably no surprise that he teamed up with Derek Cornwell, ex Drinkwater Sabey, in creating a new waste brokerage and consultancy business, WMR Waste Solutions, in 2017, along with JV Partners, GRS Roadstone, part owned by Tarmac.

Though he admitted many times to not being a good footballer, he was a good supporter and organiser of football, and joined the Football Association in Sussex in 2009, and became Chairman of Sussex FA in 2013, a post he held up until his death.

Having worked around 15 years in waste paper recycling, then 9 years in shredding, followed by nearly 25 years in waste disposal, there are not many people who have not known or worked with Mathew over the years. He will be sorely missed.

Mathew died peacefully on 17 April 2023, in Brighton, surrounded by his wonderful family.

[Information prepared by Mathew before he passed away]

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