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PSI Past President Interview: George Chen


George ChenPSI Chapter President

The following interview is part of a series of conversations with past PSI Chapter presidents. The series recognizes past PSI presidents for their service and informs current PSI members about the chapter’s previous leaders and historical activities. We hope you enjoy reading these interviews!

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.


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