Colorado Industrial Recycling is combining old school values with new technology to continue a family tradition.
The recycling industry is in Dave and Mike Koscove’s DNA. A quick look around the Colorado Industrial Recycling site in the United States and it’s clear it’s more than just a job for the fourth-generation recyclers.
A conference table constructed from old engine parts, and a couch made from the hood of a 1941 Dodge, take pride of place in its boardroom and lobby. The scale house was built from a repurposed trash compactor and the scale refurbished from a castaway recovered from a demolition clean-up job. All designed by Dave, who explored engineering but kept being pulled back to the family business.
“Our family has been recycling for over 100 years,” Dave says. “It started similarly to what we recycle today – metal, rubber and maybe some glass.”
The company’s website states that the 1911 Colorado Springs’ phonebook lists Isaac Koscove, Dave and Mike’s great grandfather, as a ‘junk dealer’. Today, Colorado Industrial Recycling is melding old school values with cutting-edge technology. A recently installed wire processing plant, engineered by ELDAN Recycling, is set to open new opportunities for the company.
“Historically, we’ve always served a localised market,” says Andy O’Riley, Colorado Industrial Recycling’s Relationship Manager. “Most of our marketing has been word-of-mouth and it’s very much a business built through relationships within our community.
“This will give us the opportunity to branch out beyond our local network and elevates us in terms of what we are capable of doing. Ultimately, it gives us a platform to display to this wider audience all that we do.”
In 2010, Dave and Mike decided to find ways to distinguish the company from others and began looking at wire processing facilities. They went with ELDAN Recycling after seeing its equipment in operation at other sites.
“It’s ELDAN designed from the ground up,” Dave says of the Colorado wire processing plant. “They saw what we needed and designed it. The technology they provide, as well as key environmental aspects – they knock it out of the park. What makes the ELDAN plant special is the area of efficiency. The plant produces no wastewater, almost no air pollution and requires minimal electricity.
“If the product level increases, we have the ability to expand the chopping line. We’ve set ourselves up for expansion as we go.”
It took 11 overseas containers to get the plant equipment to Colorado and several months to assemble. The plant processes three types of materials – number one copper, which runs from about 40 kilograms to 80 kilograms a minute, number two copper which starts at 4.5 kilograms and goes as high as 22 kilograms a minute, and aluminium, which runs from 36 to 68 kilograms a minute. A “bag house” at the back of the plant takes out most of the particulates. Contamination produced is often measured in fractions of a per cent.
Dave says the plant is “really impressive and a great way to introduce recycling to uninitiated audiences”.
Staff at the recycling plant are “getting a feel” for how the system works.
“Knowing how different materials respond and how the machine is operating and running comes with time,” he says. “You have to listen and feel.”
Andy says the process has been a learning curve for both Colorado Industrial Recycling and ELDAN.
“Obviously, wire is produced differently in Denmark, where ELDAN is based. The products being recycled in the United States are unique and this is a relatively new market for ELDAN. They see us as a way of fine-tuning their technology specifically for a US market.”
He says the new plant is a “game changer” for the company on several levels.
“Previously, we fulfilled only the middle stages of recycling. We were collecting but not changing the composition of the material. We had to outsource that final stage of processing. Sometimes that has required us to export the material to foreign processors.
“When you’re sending things overseas you don’t always know what the environmental consequences are. Being able to keep all stages of the recycling process localised reduces the carbon impact and allows us to ensure everything is done with integrity. Processing the material in-house also has an economic benefit.”
Colorado Industrial Recycling sees itself as a “partner” with the community and has always had a mindset that it should give back to the community.
Part of the value policy of the company is to create job opportunities for people with barriers to employment. It partners with several social service agencies and non-profits to employ people with disabilities, refugees and people transitioning out of homelessness. Andy says adding the processing component to the business gives more job opportunities to help people build a skill set.
“The ELDAN plant has given us a new opportunity for a specific type of work for a part of the community that is not always given an opportunity,” he says. “We’ve always been wired to look for those opportunities.”
Original article by Waste Management Review
Photos (c) Colorado Industrial Recycling