Recycling is all the rage these days. It seems most people recognize and embrace the need to mitigate the damage this fast-paced consumer world is inflicting on our planet. From home recycling buckets to refillable coffee mugs to biodegradable paper products, it’s becoming easier to consume responsibly and take better care of Mother Earth. Entire websites and magazines have cropped up, dedicated to the concepts of upcycling and recycling. Thrift shopping has not only lost its stigma, it’s become something of a badge of honor for people who want to supplement their wardrobes or decor without the environmental and societal impacts of newly manufactured goods.
Despite the rising attention and dedication to recycling in the past few years, there’s still an entire category of items that end up at the dump every year because few people know that it can be recycled or where to do so: ferrous metal. Kalamazoo Metal Recyclers, Inc. has been serving the West Michigan community for almost 30 years, and was well ahead of the curve when it comes to this aspect of recycling. This family-owned and operated metal recycling business was founded in 1986 by Patrick and Fay Farrell and is now run by three generations of the family. Patrick started the operation with one car crusher that he hauled from one salvage yard to another. Currently the company has two locations (with a new one that opened in Grand Rapids in 2016) and boasts the only shredder in Southwest Michigan. The family is committed to helping the people of West Michigan preserve the environment by paying them to recycle their discarded ferrous metal items.
According to Greenlight Energy (www.greenlightenergy.us) millions of tons of metal ore is being used up on a monthly basis around the globe. Kalamazoo Metal Recyclers notes that people in the United States throw away enough steel every year to continuously supply American automakers. Many people aren’t aware that they can recycle their cars that are past functioning and that recycling just one automobile saves more than 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
Clearly, the benefits to metal recycling are immense and local metal recyclers are dedicated to helping the Kalamazoo community do its part to decrease the demand for ferrous metal ore. The list of items accepted at most metal recycling facilities is long and some of the items are unexpected. They accept most major appliances (including microwaves), grills, motors and metal fans. You can also recycle automobiles, tractors, lawnmowers, ATVs and motors. More obscure recyclable items include empty propane tanks, metal cookware, silverware and metal shelving. The entire list of metal items that can be recycled is much too long to enumerate here, but a good rule of thumb is that if a magnet sticks to it, they’ll likely accept it. Not only does recycling these items put a little cash into your pocket, it keeps these bulky items out of our overstuffed landfills…a win-win if ever there was one. Just be sure to give the recycler of your choice a quick call to find out if they’re currently accepting the items you want to recycle and if anything needs to be done ahead of time to prepare the item.
The next time you’re thinking to toss an old metal item into the trash or drag it to the dump, consider recycling it instead…the environment and your wallet will thank you.
Erica Shier is a married mother of four who loves reading, scrapbooking & thrift stores. When she’s not driving her small pack of children around, she spends her time volunteering, writing & trying to keep on top of the laundry.