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NARRAGANSETTâThe idea to found a recycling business came from a casual conversation between two college friends, Cory Harrigan of Narragansett and Dylan Gregory of South Kingstown. The dialogue burgeoned as the discussed the need to develop incentive for businesses to recycle, and now the two undergraduates at the University of Rhode Island are owners of Scrap Specialists Recycling, investing their money to purchase 12 dumpsters and contracting their collection services with local vendors.
âDylan and I have always made every effort to recycle but we know that many people donât think twice about throwiĂ„ng a bottle into the trash,â said Harrigan. âThe residential recycling business is flooded with vendors offering their services, so we began to examine other areas where we could fill a niche, and were shocked to find out that large producers of recyclable materials are commercial and industrial businesses, and that many of these businesses donât recycle.â
âIf a business currently wants to recycle, they have to pay additional fees for additional dumpsters, or one for each type of recyclable material,â he added. âOnce we identified the problem, we began to brainstorm solutions.â
Harrigan and Gregory have thus begun to canvass local automotive businesses and offer their own recycling services, cutting down on costs for transport and recyclable separation.
âAfter more discussion, we came up with our current service, which offers on-site recycling solutions for any size business free of charge,â said Harrigan. âAlthough our main clientele are auto body businesses, we are targeting any business that produces âwaste.ââ
âWith our idea, we have eliminated one main issue with recycling by providing an incentive for industrial and commercial businesses to recycle,â he added. âThrough publicity, sponsoring events, and giving back to the community, we are trying to raise awareness for the benefits of recycling, which include not only less garbage in the landfill, but massive embodied energy savings.â
Their first customer was Crown Collision, an auto body company which has offices in Bristol, Middletown, and Pawtucket. Harrigan and Gregory dropped off a dumpster at each location, and instructed personnel at Crown Collision to throw all of their recyclables, from paper material to scrap metal, into the dumpster. The students sort through and bail the recyclable material when each dumpster is full, and vendors take the separated material away.
âCrown Collision previously had to pay a monthly fee for dumpsters as well as a tipping fee each time the dumpsters had to be emptied, but now we have our dumpsters there and empty them as needed,â said Gregory. âTheyâre saving $200 to $400 per month per location, and we make our money by selling the recyclable materials.â
Gregory and Harrigan have since entered into contracts with other automotive businesses to dispose of their recyclables, and Crown Collision has come away impressed with the studentsâ dedication to the environment through a successful business model.
âScrap Specialists Recycling offer services which make sense financially as well as environmentally, and both businesses agree that a universal recycling scheme is long overdue and much more can be done to reduce our waste streams,â said Pamela Harrigan, Vice-President of Crown Collision. âWe at Crown Collision take pride in working with the young and ambitious individuals at Scrap Specialists Recycling, a company that is new and exciting, and itâs rewarding to help passionate college students make a difference in the world.â
âCrown Collision also recognizes the importance of integrating sustainable techniques into our business and see many more âgreenâ opportunities appearing in the future,â she added. âWe feel obligated to do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment and understand that every bit counts.â
The two URI students, as they approach graduation and look toward turning their nascent recycling business into full-time positions, stressed the impact which the Universityâs Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (ENRE) program has had on their understanding of how sustainable, ecologically conscious communities and businesses should operate.
âThe ENRE faculty and staff truly motivated us to think outside the box,â said Gregory. âThe current system isnât working, and we have studied countries with over 90 percent recycling rates, while in the U.S., we recycle at most 15 to 20 percent of our waste stream. This is truly unfortunate.â
âOver the past four years at URI I have had the distinguished privilege of getting to know each and every professor on an educational level and on a personal level,â he added. âAs we speed towards graduation, I see our relationships developing into professional relationships. URI is a research institution, and we enjoy having the opportunity to be in an atmosphere where change is common and accepted. Itâs positive and means you are moving forward. There is no answer in stagnation.â
As Scrap Specialists Recycling grows under the hard work of Gregory and Harrigan, the two students hope that the experience will not only provide significant cost-cutting measures for local companies, but create a more environmentally aware business community that recognizes the health of the globe is an investment which everyone must make.
âWe believe recycling is essential in the âtransformation of awarenessâ that must take place in the coming years,â said Harrigan. âReducing our consumption and reusing the waste we produce is vital in our society if we are to become sustainable. Unfortunately, with the economic downturn environmental issues have taken the back seat.â
âBy creating this business and taking recycling to a new level, we hope our efforts will have a ripple effect and encourage people to take similar actions,â he added.
For more information about Scrap Specialists Recycling, contact Gregory at 633-4112.