PSI Past President Interview: George Chen
Q & A PSI Retrospective: George Chen
Q: Are you still actively involved in the paper recycling/brokerage business?
A: Yes, I export recovered paper to Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Q: What is your current job title and company?
A: I am president of G&T Trading International Corp., a Clifton, NJ-based company that exports recovered fiber to South Asia.
Q: What keeps you interested in the industry?
A: Recycling scrap paper is a very good business because it keeps the environment clean and beautiful for the future. Plus, I have so many friends who are involved in the paper recycling and papermaking sectors.
Q: Describe your typical workday activities.
A: In addition to trading recycled paper, I spend a lot time on volunteer association work, especially for the New Jersey Paper Recycling Association, which has more than 60 member companies in New Jersey and New York.
Q: What are the most significant changes you’ve seen in the business in your career?
A: Single-stream curbside collection of municipal recyclables, the 2008 market crash, and China’s new market regulations, which are having a huge impact on the global paper recycling business.
Q: What do you like and dislike about the business today?
A: I like the business today because it is full of challenges. You can always expect changes in the paper recycling industry, which makes it exciting and interesting.
Q: What are the defining memories from your term as PSI Chapter President?
A: The chapter’s membership reached over 110 companies, and we reviewed all of the recovered paper specifications in ISRI’s Scrap Specifications Circular.
Q: What challenges did you face as PSI Chapter President?
A: Recruiting and retaining members was a constant battle. We also had to continually promote the message about increasing the paper recycling rate as much as possible from year to year.
Q: What advice would you offer the new generation entering the paper recycling/brokerage industry and ISRI/PSI?
A: I would tell them that paper recycling is an important and enjoyable industry, even if the business comes with a lot of headaches. I also would tell them that it is important to network with other paper recyclers to find business opportunities and that serving as a volunteer leader in trade associations is a great shortcut to success.