Recycling the Big Stuff

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We spend a lot of time focusing on how to recycle everyday items. Your daily newspaper, your cell phone, your car’s battery. But there’s a lot more to the wide world of recycling than just empty wine bottles and CFLs.

What if you needed to dispose of something bigger, or more obscure? What if you had 10 outdated HVAC units and 1,000 tons of concrete? That is a lot to toss in the landfill, after all.

The units we’re talking about here are known as “critical facility operations equipment.” This covers any large equipment necessary for the operations of a building or business, such as:

  • Generators
  • Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)
  • Server and data room equipment
  • Flooring
  • Large HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) systems
  • Cooling towers and chillers

To learn more about recycling critical facility operations equipment, we talked to someone in-the-know: Frank LoMonaco, the founder of Green Recycling Co. According to LoMonaco, who is actually an engineer, millions of these types of products are trashed each year.

Green Recycling Co. is a recycling service provider. But unlike many recyclers, they don’t accept paper, aluminum or glass. You can’t contact them about a pile of plastic bags you’ve collected over the past few months that are in need of a pickup. They handle the equipment we just talked about.

Don’t have a large stockpile of HVACs in your garage? That’s all right, many private citizens don’t have to deal with this type of equipment. But if you’re a building, operations or facilities manager, properly disposing of equipment like this can be challenging.

So, What’s This About Facilities Equipment?

LoMonaco works closely with various companies and recyclers through partnerships, in order to facilitate the recycling of the wide range of products he handles.

Large units like HVACs can pose a difficult challenge to recycling facilities equipment.

Large units can pose a difficult challenge to recycling facilities equipment.

Specializing in end-of life equipment and excess and surplus inventory, the company works to refurbish units if possible and use them again. It it’s unusable, the unit is recycled, down to the last component. “It’s important that we do this, properly.”

Handling “big time” equipment is no new concept for the company. Here are some recent projects, to give you an idea of what the scope of this type of recycling can include:

  • In a large project with Nortel, the company transported and removed 42,000 pounds of lead from batteries that they had on site. “It was all done professionally – the acid in the batteries themselves was neutralized and the lead was removed and recycled, and plastics were also recycled. No waste at all.”
  • They also recycled over 80,000 tons of concrete and steel, and the repositioning and reuse of two 750kw generators, in a recent airplane hangar dismantling.
  • Currently, the company is working at an electronics facility in South Carolina, looking to reuse or recycling an entire water treatment system and large HVAC systems.

The All-Mighty $

According to LoMonaco, one of the toughest parts about recycling facilities equipment is the cost involved in moving, processing and disposing of such large units. It’s often a deal-breaker in the green endeavors of many facilities managers.

But some companies, like Green Recycling Co., don’t charge these fees, in order to encourage people to recycle. “We waive fees for our customers. Most sustainability directors that I talk to say that is a roadblock for them, they might not have the revenue at that time to do it otherwise.”

For people like LoMonaco, recycling big-ticket (and therefore big impact) items like these goes beyond the bottom line. “Life goes by so fast, we don’t know what it’s going to bring. We need to focus on what is real, and our environment is real.”

Recycling large items like this has its perks. LoMonaco enjoys “actually making sure that everything possible is reused to put back into recirculation, so we can move forward with whatever it is, not to just be thrown away and discarded. My excitement is just protecting what we should hold close to our hearts, which is the environment. I’m a small part of trying to make it right.

“This was just an innovative idea. Innovation is human invention of the mind that incorporates the future of success. We need to be good stewards.”

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Comments

  1. As an active integration and construction company involved in critical facilities, we regularly are tasked with removing and disposing of old and surplus electrical and mechanical equipment – UPS, batteries, CRAC, gensets. Frank’s company has been a valued partner in assisting in this area, and we have used his company on numerous projects, both large and small.
    Ken Agee
    President and GM
    Critical Power Resource, LLC

  2. Hello my name is Tony and I am a teacher at the Cathedral Home for Children and a UW Grad student. We are starting a recycling program here at our school and I am looking for recycling bins. I know that UW has got to have some lying around that they are not using. Can anyone tell me who I could contact to buy, borrow, or have a bin or two. My email address is aperes@uwyo.edu

    Thank you,

    Tony

  3. I have had the privilege of working with Frank on a number of projects involving the removal and re-deployment of data center equipment and power generators. Frank not only provides a much needed service, but he puts his heart into it. You won’t meet anyone out there who is more conscientious and hard working. If you have big equipment to tear out and dispose of, Green Recycling Co. can get the job done quickly, and often generate revenue for your company as well. Call him.
    Daniel Shinefield
    President
    Quantum Technology

  4. Great article Jenn! Before coming to Earth911.com I had faced this issue with several clients. Great to see a thorough overview of the issue and a solid resource offering solutions.

  5. No one man can do it all but Frank tries very hard. Clearly he’s a net worker extraordinaire. He has used our company a couple times for his projects & has no doubt kindled a life long friendship. There nothing more refreshing than a thick New York accent in the deep South. Made me feel right at home.
    Mike
    President
    Raptor Technologies
    Philadelphia

  6. Pingback: Green » Blog Archive » Green Recyling Co. featured by Earth 911

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