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The collectors.

Some Businesses that capitalize on garbage

OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION BUSINESS AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT -- JUST SMART. ROGER HEBERT'S ECO LAD IS A PRIME EXAMPLE. HEBERT BOUGHT A GARBAGE CAN ADVERTISING FRANCHISE SEVERAL YEARS AGO AND IT HAS FLOURISHED ON THE NEEDS OF SHOPPING CENTRES TO KEEP THEIR GROUNDS CLEAN.

Hebert, a salesman, has successfully placed more than 250 aluminum garbage bins, both inside and outside shopping centres, around Winnipeg -- including at Polo Park and Garden City. Hebert says at the Grant Park Shopping Centre the trash cans have cut back the problems by about 80 per cent.

Hebert makes containers available to shopping centres free of charge. He makes his money on year-long advertising space on the containers which are well placed and durable.

Hebert says, "I've been in business for seven years. It's all I do and I make a reasonable living."

Another smaller operation is Phoenix Recycling Inc., a year-old company owned by entrepreneur Kristjan Backman, 23, and two minority partners, Craig White, 24, and David Crawford-Stewart, 21, with Bernie Schmid handling sales.

Backman and his partners are in the recycling business collecting office paper, aluminum, and plastic drink bottles which they sell to a recycling business.

Says Crawford-Stewart, "We feel that customer service is the key to success. And that means at every level."

The company has increased its customer base from 26 offices to more than 500 in the past year. The fees vary depending on the frequency of collection of paper. Some companies call when the clear plastic bags supplied are full while others are on an annual fee of $200. Phoenix doesn't warehouse the material, delivering it instead to Wilpax, an industrial waste recycling operation which bales paper.

Crawford-Stewart says recycling is a money-saving venture in cases where companies are paying refuse collection companies to cart away paper to landfill sites. He says that by reducing the volume of garbage companies save money. A lot of money in some cases.

In fact, Backman is a major lobbyist for higher dumping fees at Winnipeg's sanitary landfill sites. He says the $30-a-ton fee in Winnipeg is shameful. He says fees are $150 in Minneapolis and $180 in Toronto.

Says Backman, "If the fees were higher, there would be more sensitivity for companies to recycle."

Backman's point is duly noted by Jeff Golfman. Golfman's company, Plan-It Recycling operates the residential Blue Box recycling program which gathers recyclable garbage from about 9,500 Winnipeg homes. Golfman says he saw an opportunity, borrowed money from the Maple Leaf Fund a year ago and got into the recycling business.

Golfman is the sole owner of the company which charges people $70 per year to collect their throwaway newspaper, plastics and glass which are sent to various firms for recycling. Says Golfman, "The value of the recyclables isn't much. We really earn our money from the collection fee."

Plan-It, with gross earnings of about $600,000 a year, employs five full-time drivers with trucks and an office staff of five. Golfman says that for his business to succeed and grow the City of Winnipeg must commit itself to the blue box program with a view to reducing the amount of garbage that goes to landfill. He says people don't really appreciate the portion of their civic property taxes that goes to garbage collection, and adds that a massive move toward recycling would wind up reducing garbage pick up and taxes.

Next year, Manitoba will have its own latest-technology hazardous waste storage facility. Located in the agricultural municipality of Montcalm, about 75 kilometres south of Winnipeg, the $30 million facility will destroy and recycle a wide range of waste materials, some of which now end up untreated in the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and then on the Lake Winnipeg. Among the commodities accepted will be gasoline or oil contaminated soil, waste solvents, snowmelt, acids and metals. A multi-disciplinary task force brought the plant to Montcalm and is a major victory for the province and the environment. Montcalm itself will receive between $145 to $165 million in taxes.
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Title Annotation:garbage recycling companies
Author:Gage, Ritchie
Publication:Manitoba Business
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Words:682
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