Penn Recycling: Second life for materials

From aluminum cans to copper pipes to cars, Penn Recycling, 2525 Trenton Ave., will take many types of metals in order to keep them out of the area’s landfills.

“We’ve been green before it was popular,” said Ron Snell, operating manager.

Anyone who wishes to get rid of recyclable metals can bring it to Penn Recycling and get paid for it.

The center has a scale so a customer can drive right onto it and get weighed. Customers are paid for their recyclables by the pound. For steel, it is bought per 100 pounds.

“We recycle ferrous and nonferrous metals,” Snell said.

Snell said customers can call before coming to see what the price of their materials is.

The business has been in operation since 1995 and employs about 50 individuals.

Larry Simon, owner, explained that it makes sense to recycle because it’s better than throwing it away.

“If you didn’t recycle this material … then it would go into the landfill,” Simon said.

Cans are dumped into a large conveyer, which separates garbage and steel cans from the aluminum ones.

Once there are enough, the cans are made into blocks, that Snell calls “bails,” that measure about 3 feet by 4 feet, he said. Snell explained that other materials can be made into bails.

The business does have its own trucks to pickup recyclables if they are not able to be brought in by an individual, Snell said.

Among the materials brought to the recycling center includes siding from a house and steel pieces of the former Arch Street Bridge.

As for old automobiles, Snell explained that they are put through a machine, which uses hammer-like pieces, that grind it down into smaller pieces.

What’s left after this process is a small block, like those of aluminum cans.

The materials recycled at the center, are sold to companies that will melt them down and use them to create new materials. These items usually are sold by the ton, Snell said.

By recycling and keeping as much out of the landfills, as possible, Simon said it keeps the environment clean.

But those looking to recycle should have identification on them, Snell said.

“Everybody who bring anything in, must have photo ID,” he said. “There’s so much stuff that’s stolen, you have to protect yourself.”

Simon added that the company always is looking to recycle as mush as possible and hopes to do it for a long time.

“Our company is always attempting to expand and process as much product as it can,” Simon said. “We hope to continue to grow.”