Stephen Duffy.

Purchasing Director

Stephen Duffy is the Purchasing Director for Highlander International Recycling and has extensive experience in the technical aspects of paper recycling. Stephen was ten years with Smurfit Recycling, where he started off as General Operative and became Regional Manager for Scotland within 6 years. Stephen (38)  left Smurfit in 2005 to take the lead role in sourcing recovered paper for Highlander’s mill partners and has been instrumental in the rapid growth of the company.
Stephen recently agreed to be a guest writer for Sustainable Ireland, the premier waste and recycling magazine for the Irish environment market and his column is a well known feature of the publication which generates a lot of interest for both producers and processors of recovered paper alike.
His regular market updates on both the magazine and our website have proven to be useful to all stakeholders in the recycling market and provide some context to what is happening in the industry and why.

More About Stephen.

  • Length of Service (start date)?

    Nearly 15 years of service – started December 2003 although I started in waste paper recycling in 1995 so I’m over 20 years in the industry…….eek that makes me feel old!!!

  • What’s your favourite part of the job?

    Apart from the free tickets to Celtic park? I’d say all the friends I have made over the years – people I would have probably never have met in normal circumstances and that’s one of the things about the recovered paper trade – full of characters and good people. Also, to see what we have all achieved here at Highlander – especially the last 3 years – has been very satisfying! We now service lots of blue chip company’s which for an independent like us, is no easy feat!

  • What did you want to be when you were at school?

    A football player….. unfortunately I never had the physique for it although definitely had the skill….honest! Thankfully I fell into the recycling industry instead so its gain is definitely football’s loss!

  • Who would play you in a TV series based on Highlander?

    Gerard Butler – just as he looked in the film 300 only I’d be a little more muscular I think…

  • Your favourite band or singer now and when you were 13?

    When I was 13 it was Happy Mondays and Stone Roses (yes, I used to have a middle shed). Now I don’t really listen to much music – prefer radio 4 and podcasts (I know – I am boring!)

  • Where would you like to see the company in 5 years’ time?

    To answer this I need to evaluate what I said last time I completed this (like 5 years ago I think?!)

    “At the moment we have a good mix of trading volumes in Ireland and processing infrastructure in Scotland with the opening of our new depot. The next stage for us is local collections of recovered paper and doing far more sourcing of material within the local radius, while never ignoring the important business we practice across the Irish sea. Ideally we would be operating a new baler, 3 vehicles, and several collection systems including bins / bales / loose etc. Employing more staff and making a good contribution to the local community”

    Well so much has changed since then! We have 8 collection vehicles, 70 containers, 40 staff and 3 balers……………..I suppose you could say I understated our progress haha!

    The next 5 years? The goal is to get the depot here to full capacity – at present we process about 700 tons per week of material and the target is 1000 tons a week by 2020 and I think this is do-able! Something I didn’t predict was the new security shredding service which has seen amazing growth in popularity and I see this getting to about 100 tons of material a week in the next 3-5 years no problem as the team there are doing a great job! I see 50 staff members 100 hundred containers and 9 vehicles by 2022………… this space!

  • Age and place of birth?

    I am a very young looking 41 years old with all my own hair and teeth, and was born in Glasgow town – my favourite place on earth!

  • What’s your least favourite part of the job - and why?

    When we were traders it was claims, downgrades, rejections et al – it’s never nice giving bad news when unexpected costs are involved. Now that we provide collection services locally, it’s when on the rare occasion trucks breakdown – it can knock the whole day’s work off schedule and we are playing catch up thereafter! Thankfully our transport team are a good bunch and they always do everything they can to get us back on track!

  • What do you like to do when you’re not working?

    Watching football, talking about football, thinking about football…. just football haha! I like the odd night out, Chinese food, spending time with wee Stephen and relaxing in front of the telly with loads of crisps and sweets – bliss!

  • Your favourite movie of all time?

    Hmmm so many to choose from; probably two – Goodfellas and Gladiator…..although The Wolf of Wall Street comes a very, very close third! Oh and 300 too lol!

  • What do you drink at work and what do you drink out of work?

    Irn Bru Extra naturally being Scottish and Rekorderlig Swedish Cider, strawberry and lime ooft! Partial to the odd whisky too – the MacAllan and Glenmorangie are my personal favourites!

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

    Still director of Highlander

  • If you were stranded in a desert island, what three things would you have with you?

    That’s easy! A 78-inch television (I said 60 inch last time but my eyes are getting worse!), Sky+ box and sports and movie subscription, oh and electricity – solar panels naturally – to work them of course!


    Best place I have been is safari in Kenya about 15 years ago – you could drive around game parks for weeks and see nothing of real excitement or drive around for a few hours and see loads of exciting things like lions, hippos etc. and I was lucky enough to see just about everything! One place I would love to visit is New Zealand, but I’m not keen on flying and as far as I’m aware there are no ferry services from Scotland to that part of the world haha!! A bit closer to home I would like to visit Madrid sometime…………………………….to see my beloved Celtic play Real!