- They do not know what they are missing

April 11, 2023
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In the 12 years Tone Ingulstad has been employed by Geminor, she has experienced rapid development in the recycling industry. She finds it strange that there are still relatively few women in this industry: "This is about so much more than waste. Many women do not know what they are missing out on," says Ingulstad.

When Tone joined Geminor in September 2010, she became the fifth employee and the very first woman in the company. She came from the construction industry and didn't know the recycling industry very well, but the workplace on Karmøy was convenient because it was close to home, and she wanted to give it a try.

"I was the only woman here for several years. At first I was in accounting, but later I was introduced to tasks related to the handling, export and import of waste resources. I have worked a lot with imports from the UK, and logistics in Northern Norway," says Ingulstad, who today enjoys her position as a logistics associate at the head office in Haugesund.

Tone Ingulstad

- Since I started, Geminor has gone from handling around 200,000 tons to around 1.8 million tons of waste in Europe per year, and has thus grown into a significant player in the European market. It has been an exciting development to be part of," says Tone Ingulstad.

Still mostly men

The waste and recycling industry is not exactly known for good gender balance, and Tone remembers well that she thought it was fantastic to have a female colleague in the house. Today, Geminor has offices in seven countries and is approaching 100 employees, of which around 20 are women. The Norwegian office has 10 female employees today.

- The main reason for the gender imbalance is probably that there is still some prejudice in working with waste, which is still seen as a male domain both in Norway and internationally. Fortunately, this is changing. Waste has gone from being something dirty and superfluous to an important and valuable resource, both in terms of recycling and producing much needed energy. "In the 12 years I have worked in the industry, good waste management has become a very important part of sustainability efforts, and 'sustainability' and 'circular economy' are terms that many women can relate to today," says Ingulstad.

"Many women don't realize what they are missing out on when they exclude waste and recycling as a career path," says Tone.

- "Recycling is of course very important in society today, and it is very exciting to see what is happening with different fractions in the market. I see that new solutions are constantly emerging, and I find the development of new furniture from waste wood particularly interesting. I think more people here at Geminor do too, because there is very little turnover in this company," says Ingulstad.

- The importance of district heating and energy produced from residual waste has also become more apparent in recent years. In this respect, everyone in this industry is helping to solve major environmental challenges, and I am very pleased to be part of this great team," concludes Tone Ingulstad.