Winnie Ramaru works as a Waste Acceptance Manager in Interwaste treatment division, Maluti, South Africa. She is passionate about environmental sustainability and she considers of paramount importance to reuse resources, water and energy.
What has been your career path?
I hold a BEng Chemical Engineering degree and BEng (Honours) Environmental Engineering degree from the University of Pretoria. I loved solving problems and I wanted to use my knowledge to find eco-conscious and sustainable solutions for the planet. My first job was when I joined Interwaste in October 2017. I was appointed as the Process Controller for a project on the vacuum distillation plant at our Maluti H:H facility. When I completed that project, I moved to the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility as Operational Supervisor where I gained more operational experience as well as the technical aspects of waste. In February 2020, I was promoted to Waste Acceptance Manager for the Treatment division.
What does your job entails each day?
As an Acceptance Manager, I oversee waste acceptance and control within the Treatment Division. I actively engage with the Technical Services and Sales teams to ensure effective communication happens between the company and our clients. I approve treatment/disposal applications and provide technical assistance to the treatment division’s operations including disposal of site generated waste. I manage the on-site laboratory to ensure compliance with the waste acceptance procedures. Some other parts of my role include assisting with manifest and non-conforming load discrepancies.
What is your best memory working in your current job?
What I like most about my job is the daily collaboration with different teams to find solutions for our clients and the business. I often act as the bridge between teams and enjoy sharing information and learnings with my own team.
This is a mainly male sector, how do you experience this?
People sometimes assume that men hold positions of authority. For a woman, leading a team of men often requires more effort and engagement. We often have to work harder to prove ourselves. If you stick to your work and perform well, people eventually turn around and respect you. You can make great friends with your team members. It also helps to proactively ensure that you are included in group actives, rather than waiting to be invited along. It may take some time to adapt, but it will be worth it in the end. I also believe we play an important role in helping everyone engage and work well together to ensure this sector is accessible and welcoming to everyone.
Share with us something that you are passionate about and that your professional entourage is generally unaware of?
I love learning and working with a diverse group of people. I grew up in a family of six children so I had to develop my work ethic, negotiation, collaboration and competitive skills early on to make an impact! One of my biggest passions is to share knowledge and empower others, especially younger women. I find the waste industry fascinating and am committed to using my training, knowledge and experience to develop innovative, environmentally sustainable solutions.