An interview with Kevin Rose, Operations Manager, A&M Business Interiors, our service partner. A&M is an operating company of Omni Workspace.
What materials do you recycle?
We recycle pretty much anything that comes in our door—from metals to plastics to wood, electronics, appliances, batteries and lights.
What kind of quantities?
The majority of what we recycle is steel. Being in the furniture industry and supporting a Steelcase dealership, we come across large quantities of retired assets that are primarily steel. *In 2011, we loaded 72 trailers with over 1.5 million pounds of steel out of our Minneapolis warehouse alone.
How long has your recycling program been going on?
We have been recycling in small amounts for over 20 years, but in the last 5 to 7 years we have made recycling a strategic initiative in our overall business plan.
What motivated the company to start a recycling program? Did you initially get management support?
The motivation was driven by a need to be competitive and to offer complete fulfillment services to our customers. As the economy experienced ups and downs, and remanufacturers struggled with existence, there became an abundance of ‘old’ office furniture that needed to be dealt with. Management was and continues to support our efforts to keep anything from going to the landfill.
Who is your recycling company, if any?
Metals, cardboard, electronics, pallets, work surfaces and lights all have their own avenues for recycling. You need to be networked with many different recycling companies as they all specialize in certain areas. We are lucky to be located by the river, which has historically been a transportation alley for steel and other commodities. We also consider non-profits as one of our preferred means of redeployment of decommissioned goods as there is a great need within these organizations.
If you recycle on site, what do you use the recycled materials for?
KR: Some of the things we reuse are old rubber mats for cart pads, discarded carpet for cart handles, decommissioned work surfaces for warehouse equipment storage, and styrofoam and cardboard for packing and shipping materials. We consider our recycling program as a cost avoidance program more than a profit center. When you factor in the cost avoidance of disposing the items, recycling has a positive impact on our business.