Aiming high

UAE based Istanbul Group of Companies has grown rapidly over the years and greatly increased the volume of materials it recycles every year.

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November 10 2020
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Istanbul Group of Companies is a leading recycling firm based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Established in 1985 by Muhammad Javed Anjum to provide sustainable environmental solutions, the company has seen tremendous growth over the years and presently offers a complete range of solutions starting from the collection to processing and trading of most recyclable materials including non-ferrous and ferrous metals, plastic, paper, cardboard, and wood, among others.

The firm, headquartered in Sharjah, has earned a strong reputation and has diversified with several companies under the umbrella of Istanbul Group. These include Istanbul Waste Collection LLC, Istanbul Scrap Trading LLC, Al Kashif Metal Scrap Trading LLC, Al Kashif Metal Trading LLC, AJM Trading LLC, Kashif Javed Metal Scrap LLC, Al Kashif Plastic Waste Recycling LLC, KJA Scrap and Metal Waste Trading LLC, Al Hur Factories Machinery, Equipment, and Spare Parts Trading LLC, and Green Earth for Environmental Solutions LLC, Dubai, and Qatar. The Group has branch offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Ras Al Khaimah as well as Oman and Qatar.

“At Istanbul Group, our clients’ best interests come first, and everything we do is guided by our values and professional ethics. We ensure that we dedicate an experienced technical team, manpower, and resources to execute the tasks,” says Kashif Javed Anjum, Chief Executive Officer of Istanbul Group. “Our vision is to utilize waste as a resource and recover material for its best use. Our mission is to enhance recycling for a healthy community, promoting sustainable, environmentally sound, and cost-effective practices through an integrated system of reuse, recycle, innovate that assist businesses and non-profit organizations in operating sustainably.”

They aim to become the top recyclables collection and processing firm in the UAE guided by the highest levels of professionalism, notes Kashif Anjum. “We will at all times demonstrate our commitment to sustainability, both individually and as a firm, by actively participating in our communities and integrating sustainable business practices wherever possible.”

Specialized services and infrastructure facilities

Istanbul Group is a “client-focused and result-driven” firm that provides broad-based experience to its clients, says the CEO. The company has the requisite staff, facilities, and equipment to perform the demanding job of waste recycling, with over 1500 trained staff and all necessary resources including forklifts, pickup trucks, trailer units, JCBs, buses, SUVs, and cars.

Anjum explains: “Istanbul Group of Companies has identified the provision of appropriate guidance or tools to select the most appropriate systems to ensure environmental targets are met with the least possible health and safety risk of systems for collection, transfer, treatment, and processing of municipal, industrial and commercial waste recyclables. We have several large and medium-sized warehouses with full environmental controls to store the collected recyclables, process, and transport them to the customers in an environmentally friendly manner.” He further says, their main focus is on the collection and trading of ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals including iron, steel, copper, brass, and aluminum, etc., in an eco-friendly and safe manner.

Their comprehensive business offerings include Waste recyclable collection and treatment; Recyclable collection from landfills, material recovery facility (MRF) and Transfer Station; Ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap trading; Steel products Trading; Plastic scrap trading; Cardboard and waste paper trading; Post-consumer utilization of recovered materials; Green waste and wood waste recycling; Inert waste recycling; Cargo containers trading; Waste management consulting services; Environmental assessments for recycling; Environmental awareness and recycling programs; Health, safety, and environmental management systems; Sustainable development consulting.

The firm provides services to various sectors including waste management, construction, chemicals, oil & gas, automobile, geological services, real estate, R&D, various Government entities, agriculture, fisheries, energy, mining, among others. The Group has acquired international certifications in the application of best environmental practices in recycling including Environmental Management System Certificate ISO 14001: 2004; Quality Management System Certificate ISO 9001: 2008; and Occupational Health and Safety Management Certificate OHSAS 18001: 2007.

Projects and partnerships

The CEO proudly says: “Istanbul Group of Companies has over the years developed a positive reputation for the services offered to clients and has established a strong and long-standing relationship with the customers and partners both in the region and internationally. We have served a wide range of companies with outstanding credentials.”

Some of their customers and partners include Dubai Municipality; Ras Al Khaimah Municipality; Fujairah Municipality; Abu Dhabi Municipality; Ajman Municipality; FEWA; DEWA; Bee’ah; Dulsco; AIMS Group; Dry Docks; Green Mountains Environment and Transport Services; West Coast Group; PGI Group; Modern Plastic Industry; Polytech; Cosmoplast; Totonto Metals Trading; Al Farid Wood and Metals Trading, among others.

Making a difference

Kashif says the Group engaged the services of a core professional in the area of business consulting and structuring to assist them in building a reputable and result-oriented company that could favorably compete in the highly competitive environmental industry. “We have a proper SWOT analysis conducted, as a result of which we can position our business to maximize our strength, leverage opportunities that are available, mitigate our risks and be well equipped to confront our threats.”

“Our core strength lies in the power of our workforce. We have an expert team with excellent qualifications and experience in the industry. Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected workforce and our strong online presence, we can compete on effective cost controls, access to a multi-skilled and flexible workforce. Istanbul Group is also well-positioned in a business district with the right demography which can attract loads of clients,” he emphasizes, adding that the top management and board members are all licensed and highly qualified environmental management consultants, which provides a competitive advantage.

Covid-19 business impact & performance

Though the metal recycling sector has been dormant this year as compared to 2019, the scrap trading operations appear to have been mostly unaffected thus far by the spread of the coronavirus, says the CEO. “On the front of the non-ferrous metal, business with Asian markets slowed in February, but there has been no significant disruption to material movement. However, some scrap-generating manufacturing operations are starting to report a slowdown in their activities. The extent to which this might affect scrap generation and demand is yet to be seen.”

Some suppliers of ferrous scrap have encountered issues on the container availability side, and now there are more restrictions on bulk vessels, he comments. Business travel for meetings with suppliers and clients has been suspended in many instances. Various trade shows and events have been canceled and the situation will worsen if companies are forced to close their doors owing to infections, Anjum remarks. “However, we have been able to critically examine the market conditions and are well-positioned to take on the available market. We are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target and grow the business during this period.”


The recycling industry has grown quickly in recent decades, and this boom has translated into social, environmental, and economic benefits for society. One of these is the creation of jobs in the recycling industry. There are also several training options available for those interested in pursuing a career in the recycling industry, Anjum says.

Solid waste management is a highly mechanized process that is achieved with a modest amount of labor. Recycling, on the other hand, can be much more labor-intensive. It involves the collection, sorting, and processing activities, as well as other supporting roles such as facilities operations, sales, and logistics support.

“Recycling is an integrated process that begins with recyclable material collected from various sources, following which these recyclable materials go through a thorough sorting process to separate various materials. For plastic, paper, and metal recycling, the items go through a rigorous process to be usable as a raw material for the production of new goods. From the collection of materials to selling them, recycling businesses need varying degrees of skilled and semiskilled employees to perform recycling industry jobs,” he elaborates. Given the capacity of recycling to generate jobs, it is important to take the necessary steps to create an environment that stimulates recycling and recycled material markets, he says.

Plans and business strategy

The success of recycling or its true value in the long term will not depend on how much landfill space is saved, but on whether or not recycling makes economic sense, notes Anjum. “To build demand for recycled materials, governments and businesses must not only reinvent themselves, they must also reinvent their relationships, especially when it comes to economic problems that neither can solve alone.”

He adds: “The future of a business lies in the number of loyal customers we have, the capacity and competence of the employees, the investment strategy and the business structure. One of our major goals at Istanbul Group is to build a business that will survive off its cash flow without the need to inject finance from external sources.”

One of the ways of winning customers over is to offer excellent and resulting services at a pocket-friendly rate to clients and the Group has put in place the right foundation, structures, and processes to ensure that their staff welfare is taken care of, says the CEO. “Our corporate culture is designed to drive the business to greater heights, so training and retraining of our workforce is our top priority.” He also emphasizes that they can compete with other leading environmental firms and hope to merge or acquire other smaller recycling firms and expand their services in the UAE and other countries for sustainable environmental development.

They plan to expand by developing downstream industries for postconsumer utilization of recovered materials like plastic granule manufacturing facility and green waste and wood waste processing facilities, plus other optimally functioning whole recycling systems, Anjum says.

“Another important plan is to promote sustainable, self-supporting partnerships between businesses and local government entities. The main goal of the program is to stimulate improved cooperation between public, private, and citizen stakeholders that contributes to the sustainable improvement of recycling and solid waste management; minimizes negative effects of waste, and improves the lives and livelihoods of people and enterprises,” he remarks.

On life and business success

Anjum recalls the valuable advice given by his dad. “My dad always had a zeal to undertake a business that benefits the community, protects the environment, and is profitable. In his view, scrap metal was one of the most valuable products to recycle, and trading and recycling metal were important to not only keep this limited supply of material out of landfills and reduce the demand for raw materials but also to earn money.”

“My dad also ventured into scrap metal trading business and we learned a lot from him. One important advice he gave was that knowing one’s customer is one of the keys to success. Over a while, with extensive research, hard work, and dedication, we have been able to achieve business success,” he underlines.

So, what advice would the CEO give to the younger generation and people looking to establish their business? “The world is full of great ideas, but success comes only through action!” says Anjum. “No one succeeds immediately, and everyone was once a beginner… No one thrives in business alone and those who try will lose to a great team every time. Build your great team to bolster your success and spend your money wisely. It is easy to spend too much on trivial things and run out of capital too soon. Having the result in mind every day ensures you are working towards it. Set goals and remind yourself of them each day. Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of work, a clear vision, and a lot of perseverance,” he concludes.

For more information contact:
Istanbul Group of Companies,
P.O Box 26501, Sharjah, UAE
Tel: +9716 5347330; Fax: +9716 5344397
Email: /


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